Frederika Riley is in love with the effortlessly cool Laura Dean, who she is in a tempestuous relationship with. She is powerless again Laura Dean's charms, despite being treated like garbage. Freddy's incredible group of friends can't talk sense into her. Relationships (good, bad, romantic, and platonic) are explored in this gorgeously illustrated graphic novel. Queer young love, toxic relationships, and heartbreak are at the forefront of this story, along with enough angst you can almost feel it emanate from the pages.— From Gabi
Fred Riley has a problem: her girlfriend, Laura Dean? Terrible. A beautiful, terrible flake. Also, she keeps breaking up with Fred. But Fred loves Laura Dean because Laura Dean, impossibly, chose her. Fred struggles to balance the hurtful, manipulative things Laura Dean does with the depth of her love, knowing she's stuck in a vicious cycle but feeling powerless to break free. How can she ever stop loving Laura Dean? Valero-O'Connell's gorgeous, sherbet-colored art and Mariko Tamaki's writing, always true to the complex emotions of her characters, combine to make a beautiful queer coming of age story.— From Christina
“Freddy has a problem: her girlfriend, Laura Dean, keeps breaking up with her. One day, they’re a happy couple. The next? Freddy’s heartbroken while Laura Dean is off partying with some other girl. As Freddy struggles with the roller-coaster ride of her relationship, her friendships—including with her best friend, Doodle—suffer. As Tamaki and Valero-O’Connell explore the ins and outs of high school relationships in this compelling graphic novel, readers—LGBT or not—will see themselves in Freddy’s story, and hopefully ask themselves the same question: Do my relationships make me happy? Eloquent, engrossing, and utterly unputdownable.”
— Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, KS
Author Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love in Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, a graphic novel that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.
Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There's just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.
Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.
Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.
"Tamaki and Valero-O'Connell's tender-hearted narrative sings with real, honest emotion that will resonate with anyone trying to figure out love." —The New York Times
"The visual storytelling is precise and thoughtful, and it’s evident that the artist has spent a lot of time designing spaces that feel lived in and characters who immediately exhibit specific personalities... Tamaki excels when she’s writing stories about young women discovering their strength in times of crisis, and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me falls right in her creative sweet spot." —the A.V. Club
"Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is the perfect next read for fans of Love, Simon and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, books about young love and struggling to figure out what it means... It’s exactly the sort of book that a lot of teens need to read to feel a little less alone, and a good gateway graphic novel for fans of Netflix’s new glut of romances or a stepping-stone for readers ready to graduate from graphic novels like The Baby-Sitters Club adaptations to more complicated, nuanced stories." —Paste
"Pithy dialogue is neatly trimmed to speech-bubble size, and the manga-esque styling suits characters to a T, from doe-eyed, love-smitten Freddy to lean, angular Laura...as a cautionary tale or as an invitation to a pity party, this packs catharsis into every frame." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"Touching gently but powerfully on topics of bullying, homophobia, and toxic relationships, this superb graphic novel has its finger on the pulse of teenage concerns." —Booklist, starred review
"This exploration of toxic relationships and social dynamics at the cusp of adulthood is, like its cast, sharp and dazzling."—Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Tamaki explores the nuances of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. Valero-O'Connell's art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink...a triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar." —Kirkus, starred review
"Relatable, heart-wrenching, and often funny... Black-and-white panel illustrations with pink accents provide additional characterization and feature a cast diverse in race, gender identity, and body type." —Horn Book, starred review
"Tamaki and Valero-O’Connell do bring to life an artful narrative of relationships—old, new, harmful, and healing—and what happens when you learn to navigate them." —School Library Journal
"A stunning visual of spirited young love and relatable characters... Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me will appeal to a variety of readers with its air of real-life romance blended with the search for identity and friendship." —VOYA