The New Book Spotlight highlights new-to-us titles in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me / written by Mariko Tamaki, illustrations by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell / 2019
CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: toxic relationship, abortion, emotional abuse, adult/minor relationship, infidelity
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is a coming-of-age story. Freddy, our seventeen-year-old protagonist, is dating Laura Dean, the attractive popular girl who is all wrong for her. Laura keeps cheating on and breaking up with Freddy, but they always end up back together.
This graphic novel is a great read for older teens and adults alike. It has diverse representation and portrays LGBTQIA+ relationships in a way that is rarely seen in YA fiction. It focuses on the relationships between people rather than homophobia, coming out, or struggling with identity (though those themes are somewhat present). We get a glimpse of Freddy’s inner monolog as she struggles to navigate her relationships through emails to an advice columnist. It’s a realistic and raw portrayal of a toxic relationship and how it can impact every part of life. This book really captures the essence of high school relationships and what it feels like to love someone who isn’t good for you. The characters are hard to love and their flaws are at the forefront of the story. But they do feel real and raw.
Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s art brings the story to life. It is dynamic and makes very creative use of color. Much of the book is black and white; however, pops of pink appear throughout the panels making it both visually appealing and dynamic to read. On particularly powerful moment in the book has all the characters, except Freddy, facing away from the reader really emphasizing how truly alone she is, as well as how much she has alienated her friends because of her toxic relationship with Laura Dean.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is available from CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.
Review by Haley Shaw, CECH Temporary Librarian