Rummanah Aasi
 It's the first day of sophomore year, and now that Winifred's two best (and only) friends have transferred to a private school, she must navigate high school on her own. But she isn't alone for long. In art class, she meets two offbeat students, Oscar and April. The three bond through clandestine sleepovers, thrift store shopping, and zine publishing. Winifred is finally breaking out of her shell, but there's one secret she can't bear to admit to April and Oscar, or even to herself--and this lie is threatening to destroy her newfound friendships.

Review: Sarah Winifred Searle's semi-autobiographical graphic novel follows Winifred who is not looking forward to starting a new school year after her two closest friends move to a different school. Alone, introverted, Winifred is a talented artist who is filled with self doubt and self loathing. She loves and finds joy in her drawing and photography classes, but her low self esteem and insecurity about her weight bring her down. Though she is lactose intolerant, she eats foods that she knows will make her unwell. Luckily, she does make friends with fellow classmates April and Oscar who take note of her talent and share a sense of comradeship with their own issues and insecurities. April also has an eating disorder and identifies as nonbinary though it is not accepted by their emotionally absent parents. Oscar is identified as being pansexual and is struggling with a learning disability. The trio's friendship deepens as they open up to each other and collaborate on a zine together. 
  Despite all the heavy topics that this graphic novel covers from mental health to navigating gender and sexuality identities, I really like how introspective, poignant and quiet it is without losing its candor. The graphic novel within the graphic novel format is not only meta but it also allows Winifred to express herself through storytelling and gain self confidence. With the help of her friends and the zine she is able to reach out to her mom and ask for help. The book ends on a hopeful note with Winifred beginning to discover herself worth and being happy.    

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is mention of self harm, characters with an eating disorder, emotionally absent parents, and some language. Recommended for Grades 9 and up. 

If you like this book try: The Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Lee Gulledge and Slip by Marika McCoola
1 Response
  1. I think graphic novels are an effective memoir-ish format and work really well for adolescents. This one sounds good. And, I am glad to see you blogging again; I hope you're doing well!

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