Be That Way

By Hope Larson

Hardcover edition

Publisher Holiday House Imprint Margaret Ferguson Books ISBN


Be That Way

In stock


Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use,Illustrations/Images: Blood/Gore,Language: Crude Humor,Language: Strong Language,Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes,Social Issue: Body or Weight Shaming,Violence: Gun Violence

Seventeen-year-old Christine keeps a journal of an eventful year in her life in mid-90s, while juggling troubled friendships and looking for love.

It’s January 1, 1996, and high school junior Christine wants more than anything to be that cool girl everyone notices, like her gorgeous best friend, Landry. She usually hates New Year's resolutions, but this year she vows to be that shiny kind of girl—and record it all in her diary through prose, illustration, and comics.

When Landry drops her, Christine is surprised to discover just how much she doesn’t miss her and her drama. But a misguided kiss with film-obsessed Paul, her only other close friend, also causes a rift, and she finds herself facing a long, lonely summer.

With nothing to lose, Christine finds a new sense of courage. She gets a job at her neighborhood video store, experiments with her art, and becomes romantically entangled with her next-door neighbor Whit, who’s either the coolest guy ever or a total jerk. In spite of all this, she doesn’t quite feel shiny—until a shocking betrayal shows her the value of the words and drawings she hides in her diary, and she finally understands that she doesn’t need to be cool to be noticed—she only needs to be herself.

Eisner-award winning author and illustrator, Hope Larson, has created a powerful coming-of-age story set in a time before the Internet that explores themes of betrayal, first love, self-expression, and the power of art.

Full-color illustrations were created using an iPad Pro, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.
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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up-Told in diary format, Be That Way presents themes of friendship, jealousy, and the impact of privilege. It's 1996 and Christine is a high school senior focused on writing for her school's paper and deciding where she should apply to college. Her dad died a few years ago and she's still coping with the changes and grief that accompany losing a parent. Like typical teens, Christine and her gorgeous best friend, Landry, spend time going to parties, concerts, and the mall. Landry is consistently trying to "fix" Christine, whether it's picking her outfits or introducing her to guys, and their relationship begins to break down. After an ugly scene at a big party, they end their friendship. Christine begins to find her own identity as she builds new relationships and focuses on art and her new job at the movie rental store. The epistolary-style text offers an array of teenage experiences and characters for readers to relate to. The illustration evolves on each spread and as Christine progresses through art class, the visuals mirror that, emphasizing the growth of her artistic prowess and development as a person. The charming, conversational tone will engage readers and the mature teenage content (alcohol and marijuana use, sexual references, and language) allows this journal a sense of authenticity. Overall, the roller-coaster of emotions and experiences presented in this semi-autobiographical book will help readers feel less alone during the tumultuous times of young adulthood. VERDICT Readers will devour this quirky, slice-of-life graphic novel.-Angie Jamesonα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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