Title: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (Illustrations)
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Page Length: 289
Genre: Contemporary | Romance | LGBTQIA+
Age Range: YA
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.
Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, but based on the art style I had scene and the publisher I knew I had to pick it up. I have loved basically everything I’ve read from First Second and this one has continued the streak.
I was expecting a sweet love story where the character learns and grows, possibly outside of the relationship – please keep in mind I rarely look at book synopsis before reading. Instead, I got a serious story that made me cry – and yet it was still sweet. I wasn’t fond of Laura Dean – although I think that’s the point – I also wasn’t fond of Freddy either.
The art style was cute and was unique in its colour, only showing black and white with a hint of pink on the page. Everyone was unique and you could easy see everyone’s personalities. I would have loved to learn more about Freddy’s friends, but that was not in the cards for this plot line. I also wished we had spent more time on the hard hitting topic issue that one of her friends had to deal with – unfortunately, it was only on a few pages (although could be connected back to other issues earlier in the graphic novel).
Speaking of friends, this graphic novel is full of LGBTQIA+ representation, with almost all Freddy’s friends representing in some way. I loved seeing the diversity (both in LGBTQIA+ and in POC). First Second is one of my favourite contemporary graphic novel publishers for art styles, topics, and representation. I hope to read more from Tamaki and Valero-O’Connell again.