Breaking Up: A Fashion High Graphic Novel, by Aimee Friedman; art by Christine Norrie. Published 2007 by GRAPHIX. Fiction. Young Adult.
Today marks the inauguration of a new feature on BostonBibliophile.com- Graphic Novel Monday. Meaning, every Monday I'll review a graphic novel! Mainstream, zines, hot off the presses, or old favorites- doesn't matter.
First up, a book I bought and read cover-to-cover yesterday, Breaking Up, by Aimee Friedman, with art by Christine Norrie. It's published by Scholastic and aimed at teens, but this charming story about friendship is good for teenage girls and grown-up women, too. (Some sexual references probably makes it inappropriate for younger kids though.) The plot centers on Chloe, one of a group of four friends made up herself, glam Mackenzie, musical Erika, and dancer Isabel, and the changes that take place in their relationship during their junior year of high school as they experiment with who they are and who they want to be. What that really means is, what happens to their friendship once boys enter the equation. Chloe likes an ostensibly nerdy boy who isn't cool enough for her girlfriends, and so on. Their junior year ends up being nothing like they expected.
To say this book is light reading is an understatement, but I found it really enjoyable nonetheless. Friedman does a great job of showing what high school can be like- passing notes, hanging out with friends, crushes, parties. Norrie's terrific, expressive black and white artwork brings the girls and their trials to life beautifully and keeps things from getting too serious. What makes it work for me is the honest way the girls are portrayed- everyone makes mistakes, and the girls are portrayed like real girls, who can be cruel as well as loving to each other. Reading this book really takes me back to my high school (and college) years, and all those fights and jealousies and conflicts that girls can have with each other- and also to the wonderful rewards of close female friendships. Because ultimately that's what the book is about and Friedman and Norrie have created a sweet tribute to a turbulent time in a girl's life and the bonds of friendship that can pull her through and see her to the other side.
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.