Earlier this month, Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell released their graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me with First Second. Mariko Tamaki might sound familiar; she’s written graphic novels that have helped shape the landscape of young adult comics in general, like This One Summer and Skim (both illustrated by Jillian Tamaki).
Emily and I wrote about This One Summer--we both enjoyed it, and I felt particularly attracted to Jillian Tamaki’s art style. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me has a different tone than This One Summer, though, and follows a different sort of story. Instead of following children on the verge of figuring out their sexuality through puberty, Laura Dean depicts teenagers who have already been in relationships and feel more secure in their identity (though we know teenagers are rarely too sure of anything!).
The novel focuses on Freddy, a young woman who keeps finding herself in and out of a relationship with Laura Dean, the smooth, fast talking, charming young titular character of the comic. Freddy doesn’t want to love Laura, but she can’t help herself. Instead of breaking things off and making it final, Freddy finds herself susceptible to Laura’s false promises.
(Spoilers for the graphic novel to follow)