Spinning by Tillie Walden. First Second, 2017. 9781626729407. 345pp
The level of craft is as amazing as the art. It will be a crime if this doesn’t win a bunch of major YA and graphic novel awards. I don’t really want to say anything more about it than GO READ IT!
But here’s a little more: I read a lot of high fantasy, more superhero comics than I’m comfortable admitting (I only tell you about the best), plus a bit of science fiction, crime, and literary stuff. Before this I had read one graphic novel biography about ballet (Mark and Siena Cherson Siegel’s To Dance) and zero books about ice skating. I never planned on reading a book about ice skating, and would have bet anyone money against my ever finishing one. But this autobiographical graphic novel showed me that ice skating is fascinating (there’s a taste of the diagrams skaters use to plan programs on the back cover). And as much as this is about ice skating (my high school English teachers just rolled over in their graves at my word repetition), it’s also about growing up: Tillie struggles to fit in, find people who love her, figure out if skating is worth the time and effort, and how to tell everyone who she is. (It most reminds me of another amazing YA graphic novel, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer, which is also just so good.)