cover image Breaking Up: A Fashion High Graphic Novel

Breaking Up: A Fashion High Graphic Novel

Aimee Friedman, . . Scholastic/Graphix, $8.99 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-439-74867-4

Friedman's (South Beach ) narrator, Chloe Sacks, is a self-described "aspiring artist, chronic daydreamer, borderline neurotic," and tells the story of her junior year at Georgia O'Keeffe School for the Arts in flashbacks. The volume strikes a sure balance between realistic issues and teenage sarcasm. For instance, the school is nicknamed "Fashion High" because of the ridiculous sartorial standard set by the students. Chloe is distraught to notice that her lifelong best friend, Mackenzie, is becoming distant, shallow and increasingly obsessed with popularity. Two-time Eisner nominee Norrie depicts a hilarious panel for the image of Mackenzie's "nightmare... los[ing] our precarious social footing": the tops-turvy friends are being sucked into a black hole labeled "unpopular!" Chloe befriends nerdy-but-oddly-handsome Adam, despite the damage such a friendship could do to her "popular girl" status. The two become a couple, but Chloe keeps it a secret from Mackenzie and their two other "inner circle" friends, Erika and Isabel. When the trio discovers Chloe's secret, she inadvertently alienates all three friends—as well as Adam. The stakes get higher: Erika deals with a pushy boyfriend who wants sex, Mackenzie's scheming social climbing explosively backfires. In the final chapters, Friedman moves from giggly gossip, instant messages and lattes, to a thoughtful exploration of the difficult time the girls have reconciling their friendships, and learning to accept each other for who they are. For teens going through similar dilemmas, this book will likely be a great source of comfort. Ages 15-up. (Mar.)