Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. Drawn & Quarterly, $35 trade paper (444p) ISBN 978-1-77046-433-9
The Tamaki cousins (This One Summer), winners of Eisner and Caldecott awards, reunite for a shrewd and wistful coming-of-age story that may be their best work yet. Set over the course of a few days in 2009, the adventure follows three Canadian college students spending their spring break in New York City. Zoe and Dani have been good friends for years but attend separate universities; they’re joined by Fiona, an art major who lives in Dani’s dorm. The trio share a room at a hostel, eat greasy pizza, down shots at a dive bar, and take in the Met. But as Zoe, who is queer, flirts with free-spirited Fiona, fissures between the three friends form and slowly widen. For all the big emotions laid bare in the narrative, and all its wonderfully rendered teenage dialogue riddled with pseudo-profundities, the script (by Mariko and Jillian) plays out subtle and naturalistically spare. Readers, especially ones who’ve already come of age, will recognize the life-changing shifts and signals even when the characters don’t. Art (by Jillian) augments the mood via the scale of Manhattan—its museums and Uniqlo stores are rendered gargantuan compared to the girls, a visual metaphor for their youth. It’s all brushed in alternating hues of almost-gold and melancholy blue, the nostalgic palette of an old Polaroid shot. Playful yet plaintive, this is an elegant study of young women caught between the comforts of the past and the promise of what comes next. Agents: (for Jillian Tamaki) Steven Malk, Writers House; (for Mariko Tamaki) Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated that Mariko Tamaki was the script’s sole author.
Reviewed on: 05/05/2023