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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by…
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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (original 2019; edition 2019)

by Mariko Tamaki (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5173236,688 (4.09)32
Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There's just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: Break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.… (more)
Member:wringblue
Title:Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
Authors:Mariko Tamaki (Author)
Info:First Second (2019), 304 pages
Collections:Wishlist
Rating:
Tags:None

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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki (2019)

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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Full review over on the blog!
Www.loveinpanels.com/comics/Laura-dean-keeps-breaking-up-with-me ( )
  Cerestheories | Nov 8, 2021 |
Mainly this is a very funny and humane story about teen heartache and friendship, but before getting to that, I'll say that it's also an unusually good pairing of art style and narrative style—and I don't just mean "North American kids these days like some manga in their comics." The delicate but strongly designed art does have a clear manga influence, and part of that is that Valero-O'Connell takes her time: this is a big book but not a dense one, so a brief interaction or a quiet moment could unfold over several pages to let you see it from all sides. That's appropriate to the story, because what happens is pretty simple—our hero Freddie finally accepts what all of her friends already know, that this thing with Laura can never work—but the story is also about everyone around her, and all the false starts it takes her to finally get there; if finding her own way was something that would fit in fewer panels, she would've already done it.

This is a wordier and busier book than This One Summer (the only other Tamaki book I've read, also great) but nothing feels crowded or overblown. The one dramatically teenage thing Freddie does, her first misguided attempt to push back at Laura, is presented as not the huge event she'd like it to be but just one more awkward moment for everyone concerned. Even the ugly fight that we know we'll eventually see, by the time it happens, is more like the final bump of a plane landing, confirming where we've arrived, rather than a crash.

That's also when Tamaki finally gives us the follow-through to the narrative device that starts the book—Freddie writing to an advice columnist, although she's not sure if this older woman gives advice to lesbians—and the answer is both redundant and just right. A noticeable feature of Freddie's world is that in many ways it's far freer and kinder than what an older reader like me might remember from high school: her friends aren't sorted ethnically, and queer relationships seem mostly taken for granted (although we can tell that this isn't the same for everyone); sex in general is also taken for granted, except inasmuch as it's part of the scary intensity of being in love. Freddie is somewhat aware that she's living in a transitional time in America where the social rules aren't quite clear, and teenagers may not agree with rules but they do want to have some idea what they are, and how to distinguish their own special problems from universal ones. I don't really know how this will read to someone her age, but to me it's beautifully written, both subtle and down to earth.

One area where I wasn't sure where the book was going for quite a while was the title character. Would this careless, self-centered cool kid ever drop her mask (almost literally a mask: her face is stylized a little differently than the rest, with emptier eyes) and feel as human as the other characters? Yes and no: while Laura is believable as a type of person you may have known, ultimately there isn't much to her and that's OK since this isn't her story. It's important for Freddie to learn what's really been going on with her friends in some cases, but in this case part of the message is that you don't need to fully understand someone to know that you've been trying too hard. ( )
  elibishop173 | Oct 11, 2021 |
Definitely an important message - don't keep people in your life who cause you pain - but a few things bugged me:
WHY didn't anyone talk to Freddy about what she was going through? Even a simple "hey LD's broken up with and cheated on you before, why are you going back? We're worried about you" would have worked wonders. (though I don't think anybody ever actually says the word "cheating"? Which is weird.) But instead they all decided passive aggression was the way to go, which, come on.
The art style. I'm not a fan of Valero-O'Connell's style (not drawing an eye works when the character's hair is over their face, but when their hair is in a bun and they're facing out? Makes no sense).
Freddie writes to an advice columnist (which is great! I love advice columnists), asking if she "handles lesbian issues", which, it's 2019. Come on.

(And maybe I'm still bitter about the fact that my ARC was unreadable...) ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
***READ FOR THE PopCulture Readathon ***
Bingo Board: TEEN DREAM
prompt: "Cruel Intentions" Read a book with a manipulative character
Bingo Board THE ADULT TABLE
prompt: "Eff the family!" Read a book with a dysfunctional family or relationship

The only reason I'm giving this 3 stars is because it's totally not my favourite thing to read. But I would recommend this for every teenager.

That age really sucked for me and somehow I could really see why Laura Dean acted the way she did. But I also could see why Freddy stayed with her. I also was that shitty friend. In a different way but still.

My only point of criticism is I don't know if teenagers will have the knowledge of the history behind queer rights specifically in the USA. If they will get the nuance that showed up when people talked about this topic. I think it assumes a certain kind of knowledge and I just don't think they will have that. But maybe they will get curious after reading this.

Random thought: It's weird that I'm actively recommending this for teenagers. Normally I'm not about books only being for a certain age. A good book is a good book right? It feels weird to think that this story isn't universally for everybody. Eh. ( )
  Jonesy_now | Sep 24, 2021 |
My review of this book can be found on my YouTube Vlog at:

https://youtu.be/stqzcDsVNcY

Enjoy! ( )
  booklover3258 | Aug 16, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mariko Tamakiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Valero-O’Connell, RosemaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dear Anna Vice,
My name is Freddy
Riley.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There's just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: Break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.

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Checklist category/categories: Intended for a teen audience

Title: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Author or Creator:Mariko Tamaki

Publisher and number of pages/length of time: First Second, 304 pages

Year of publication/release: 2019

Your brief response to the title - Freddy is in love with Laura Dean but she keeps breaking up with her. This story follows Freddy and her friends as they navigate highschool and all the other types of heartbreak they can get from life and love.
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