Rummanah Aasi
 All Freddy Riley wants is for Laura Dean to stop breaking up with her.

The day they got together was the best one of Freddy's life, but nothing's made sense since. Laura Dean is popular, funny, and SO CUTE ... but she can be really thoughtless, even mean. Their on-again, off-again relationship has Freddy's head spinning — and Freddy's friends can't understand why she keeps going back.

When Freddy consults the services of a local mystic, the mysterious Seek-Her, she isn't thrilled with the advice she receives. But something's got to give: Freddy's heart is breaking in slow motion, and she may be about to lose her very best friend as well as her last shred of self-respect. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnist Anna Vice, to help her through being a teenager in love.

Review: Freddy struggles to navigate friendship and getting out of a toxic relationship. Though apparent to everyone but her, it is now dawning on Freddy that she needs to break up with her girlfriend, but it is complicated. She loves Laura Dean and when they are together Freddy shines and is happy, but it often comes at a cost. Laura constantly cheats on Freddy, gaslights and emotionally manipulates her, and what is even worse fetishizes her due to her biracial identity (Freddy is East Asian and white). After Laura breaks up with her for a third time, Freddy writes to an advice columnist and, at the recommendation of her best friend Doodle, (reluctantly) sees a psychic who advises her that in order to break out of the cycle of her “non-monogamous swing-your-partner wormhole,” Freddy needs to do the breaking up herself. As she struggles to fall out of love and figure out how to “break up with someone who’s broken up with me,” Freddy slowly begins to be drawn back into Laura’s orbit, challenging her relationships with her friends as she searches for happiness. I really liked how this graphic novel explores the complexities of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. It is not hard to put yourself in Freddy's shoes in dealing with a toxic relationship, whether platonic friendship or a romantic relationship, and being so wrapped up in your own world that you forget that you have responsibilities toward others too. Valero-O’Connell’s art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink. The pink color scheme works in depicting various emotions, especially the rose-tinted lens that Freddy often wears when Laura is seen. I also really appreciated the inclusivity and diversity of body shapes, gender expressions, sexualities, and skin tones. There is a minor subplot involving Doodle and her involvement with an adult that is troubling, which I wished was explored more, but overall I really enjoyed this graphic novel. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, scenes of underage drinking, and allusions to sex with an adult and an abortion. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzalez and Keeping You a Secret by Julia Anne Peters 
1 Response
  1. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds like a good one to have in a school library and that many different youth would enjoy.

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