cover image Spinning


Tillie Walden. First Second, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-62672-940-7

In an elegant, contemplative, and somber graphic memoir, Walden (The End of Summer) immerses readers in an adolescence dominated by competitive figure skating. The story stretches over several years, during which time Walden vacillates between embracing the routine of early morning practices and the rush of competition, and a near-constant feeling of otherness, due in large part to her attraction to girls, which she hides from her family and peers. “It wasn’t the thrill or freedom I felt that I remember,” she notes after making a romantic connection with a friend. “It was the fear.” Chapters open with illustrations of spins and jumps, the movements delicately mapped, paired with commentary that, at times, gives insight into Walden’s personal life; of the frustrating axel, she writes, “As I would turn to go into it I would wish and hope with everything I had that this time it would work.” A palette of deep purple, splashed with yellow, underscores the loneliness that permeates Walden’s story, and her careful attention to facial expressions and body language makes readers intimately aware of what she is feeling. A haunting and resonant coming-of-age story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Sept.)