cover image Junior High (Tegan and Sara #1)

Junior High (Tegan and Sara #1)

Tegan and Sara Quin, illus. by Tillie Walden. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $22.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-31301-2; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-0-374-31302-9

Twin musicians Tegan and Sara Quin (High School, for adults) collaborate with Walden (Clementine) to deliver a fictionalized contemporary accounting of their 1990s junior high school years in this jam-packed graphic novel. Following a move to Calgary, 12-year-old Tegan and Sara begin their first year of junior high. Things get off to a rocky start, however, when the siblings realize that, for the first time, they’ll be in separate classes. Headstrong Sara and soft-spoken Tegan are initially agitated at their classmates’ inability to tell them apart and experience anxiety over their separation, but as the year unfurls, they encounter differing social, physical, and emotional firsts. Even as they embark on opposite personal paths, the pair’s discovery of their mother’s boyfriend’s old guitar soon brings them closer together than ever before. Humorous asides to the reader from Tegan and Sara—rendered in blue and red, respectively—are interspersed throughout; Walden winningly depicts densely detailed drawings via frameless, amorphous panels with a purple tone that mixes the twins’ individual hues. While some slang and musical references feel forced, the emotions and character interactions are timelessly resonant. Ages 10–14. (May)