cover image Cross My Heart and Never Lie

Cross My Heart and Never Lie

Nora Dåsnes, trans. from the Norwegian by Matt Bagguley. Hippo Park, $24.99 (248p) ISBN 978-1-6626-4054-4; $17.99 paper ISBN 978-1-6626-4057-5

Reuniting with her best friends—Vietnamese Bao and pale-skinned Linnéa—is the only reason that 12-year-old white-cued Tuva is excited to head back to Norway following her summer in Greece. But after Tuva returns, Linnéa ditches the trio’s after-school hangout early, frustrating Bao and worrying Tuva. When Linnéa reveals that she has a boyfriend—and admits that she’d rather do “girly things” like wear makeup than spar with sticks in the woods like they used to do—she and Bao have an argument that ruptures the group’s dynamic. Soon, Tuva’s classmates split into “girls who fall in love” and “girls who NEVER fall in love.” Hoping to stay neutral, Tuva befriends brown-skinned new girl Mariam, but when Bao disparages Tuva’s constantly talking about her (“I really can’t handle another friend in love”), Tuva struggles to sort out her feelings—especially since the only thing her peers seems to agree on is that girls shouldn’t date other girls. In this warmly rendered debut graphic novel, structured as Tuva’s illustrated personal diary, Dåsnes punctuates Tuva’s anxieties surrounding her fear of losing friends via styles that shift between sparsely detailed monochrome panels and moody full-color spreads that capture Tuva’s indomitable spirit. Ages 10–up. Agent: Evy Tillman, Oslo Literary. (Sept.)