Breaking Up by Aimee Friedman

Breaking Up(Fashion High Graphic Novel)(A really short description of the book) From the author's website:  "What happens when your best friends hate your boyfriend?"

Since that doesn't do it justice, I'd like to add that this is an exploration of the junior year of high school for Chloe, the main character.  It explores the topics of friendship, romance, and popularity like most books aimed at teens.

I've had this book on my Amazon wish list for years, but I was recently shocked to find that my library had gotten a copy and I immediately reserved it.  I got home, and read it immediately (and quickly), and decided I had to promptly tell you that I really liked this graphic novel.

Then, I began to ponder how to describe it and it all seemed so generic.  It's about romance, and popularity, and friendship, and getting to know yourself.  Can't that describe almost any work aimed at young adults?  But, it transcends that simplistic description by being realistic, a word I find is often hard to use when it comes to describing characters in young adult novels.

Chloe, the main character, is flawed.  At times, she's cruel to Adam, though never intentionally.  She's a touch triumphant at another character's pain near the end.  She makes stupid decisions.  The thing about her is that she's also likable and human and the choices she makes are understandable.  She's a teenager and she's learning from the mistakes she makes, as well.  I never wondered where her actions came from, they all seemed so natural.

Her three closest friends also all seem very real, even Mackenzie, who quickly emerges as an antagonist to Chloe.  Mackenzie never seems to be acting maliciously just to be malicious.  She has clear reasons for the way she acts, even if those reasons might not seem good enough to a person reading from Chloe's viewpoint.

I was cheered that the ending, while happy, wasn't saccharinely so.  I can't use the word real any more in this review, so I'll simply say that it felt less like an ending and more like a simple step to the next point in Chloe's life.  By the end, Chloe seemed to better know who she was and what she had to do to make herself happy with regards to both friendship and romance.  I can't imagine a better ending than that!

Since this is a graphic novel, I feel that I must point out that the art is very good.  It's easy to separate the characters just from a glance, and every page looks polished.  It was rather neat to see the way Adam's looks evolve over the course of the book as Chloe's opinion of Adam evolves.  I'd love to check out more work by Christine Norrie, the illustrator.

Verdict:  8.  I think it's time to re-add this to my 'for keeps' wish list.

Thoughts:  Why did this never get more reviews?  It only has six reviews on Amazon!  I'm so happy that Comics Worth Reading mentioned this work years ago!  Also, it's kind of odd it is set in an artsy school, but didn't seem to capitalize on that fact.

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