Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Comics & Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Published by First Second, Macmillan on September 12th 2017
Source: Netgalley, Provided by Publisher
Amazon, Barnes & Noble , The Book Depository
Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden's powerful graphic memoir, Spinning, captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.
It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.
She was good. She won. And she hated it.
For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But over time, as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the figure skating team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. It all led to one question: What was the point?The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice.
This graphic novel was anything BUT what I expected it to be. I expected something lighthearted and full of fluff but it’s definitely no that.
Spinning tells the story of a young girl named Tillie who has been figure skating since she was little. Her story is one filled with loneliness even when surrounded by dozens of girls, which is kind of the lesbian experience when one is very young. She’s not the most likeable character around but that’s why I felt so connected to her. She’s an outsider trying to fit into a world that doesn’t fit her. Being a gay and being deeply closeted since a very young age is something a lot of us in the LGBTQAIP+ community go through. I feel like this graphic novels captures that loneliness and pain wonderfully. The fear, the exhaustion, the rejection, the small glimpses of kindness; it captures each and every one of them.
The color scheme projects this melancholy and this sense of longing splendidly. It’s not the most expressive art I’ve ever encountered but I think that was sort of the point. It deals with bullying, PTSD and depression at a young age; topics that are rarely spoken about when dealing with young kids especially young queer kids.
The story does drag on quite a bit since we see Tillie growing up from middle school to high school. It’s not a thrilling adventure at all but more like a gentle glide into adolescence. I feel like this makes it stand out more than you would think. Most middle grade and YA books describe adolescence as this big hit moment of your life where every change is instantaneous and impactful. Spinning takes that out of the equation and gets more real; adolescence is just another part of everyday life. The pacing allows you to grow with the MC slowly but surely; making you empathize with her in almost every panel.
It’s a story I hope parents won’t feel afraid of buying for their kids because these stories matter now more than ever.
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