Tina's Mouth
In the tradition of Persepolis and American Born Chinese, a wise and funny high school heroine comes of age. Tina M., sophomore, is a wry observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy, and of the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. She's on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep an “existential diary.” Keshni Kashyap’s compulsively readable graphic novel packs in existential high school drama—from Tina getting dumped by her smart-girl ally to a kiss on the mouth (Tina’s mouth, but not technically her first kiss) from a cute skateboarder, Neil Strumminger. And it memorably answers the pressing question: Can an English honors assignment be one fifteen-year-old girl’s path to enlightenment?

Tina's Mouth Details

TitleTina's Mouth
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 3rd, 2012
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN0618945199
ISBN-139780618945191
Number of pages248 pages
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Young Adult, Fiction, Comics, Teen, Coming Of Age

Tina's Mouth Review

  • Sesana
    September 27, 2013
    On one hand, Tina's Mouth is treading very familiar ground. Tina's best friend dumps her in favor of her new boyfriend. She herself has a crush on a boy who's giving her mixed signals. Her family is loving, but both of her older siblings have dramas of their own going on that absorb much of her parents' attention. All plot threads that show up hundreds of times in YA. So what makes Tina's Mouth different?There's the format, for one. It's billed as a graphic novel, and I'll give it that. But it m On one hand, Tina's Mouth is treading very familiar ground. Tina's best friend dumps her in favor of her new boyfriend. She herself has a crush on a boy who's giving her mixed signals. Her family is loving, but both of her older siblings have dramas of their own going on that absorb much of her parents' attention. All plot threads that show up hundreds of times in YA. So what makes Tina's Mouth different?There's the format, for one. It's billed as a graphic novel, and I'll give it that. But it moves back and forth between traditional, paneled comics, picture book, and text novel. And since the general idea of the book is that it's a diary written as part of a class assignment, that does make sense. What class? Existentialism. Not general philosophy, but specifically and exclusively existentialism. Yes, Tina does go to precisely the sort of high school that might believably have a class on existentialism. And yes, there is an awful lot about Tina understanding existentialism, though this is hardly a philosophical text.Really, Tina's Mouth is mostly about those well-worn YA staples, losing a friend and not quite having a boy. I did sigh when Tina starts her diary by claiming she wouldn't be filling her diary with boys, knowing that she would be eventually. It took about twenty pages. I wish the book hadn't started that way, since I would have taken the switch to boys-and-drama in stride. That said, I do like how Tina handled her friend drama. It hurt, obviously, very much so, but she made a conscious decision to avoid wallowing and to become proactive, taking on a number of activities she never would have thought of before, like the school play. I also liked that Tina and her family are Indian-American and that, although the book doesn't avoid the topic, isn't entirely about conflicts between traditional culture and modern American culture. That does play a part, mostly in the subplots around Tina's siblings. But in Tina's life, being Indian is something that doesn't play that big of a roll. So while the story is flavored by her family's heritage, it doesn't revolve around it. And isn't that nice to see?But I'm not thrilled with the art. To be honest, it looks and feels like something a teenager might draw. Was that the point? I can't tell. And even if it were, an artistically gifted teen would probably do a better job than this. I wouldn't call it terrible art, just underwhelming.
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  • Michelle
    August 18, 2012
    The book is focused more on text than the art. I feel like this would have been better as a novel. It' the typical teenage angst type of book. this unfortunately made all the non-family member characters flat characters. Subplots are friendship seem to get dropped to quickly or forgotten until later. Reza appeared on like 3 pages, so his importance in the end came out of nowhere. The story narrative need to be tightened up. There were some interesting parallel between Tina and other characters b The book is focused more on text than the art. I feel like this would have been better as a novel. It' the typical teenage angst type of book. this unfortunately made all the non-family member characters flat characters. Subplots are friendship seem to get dropped to quickly or forgotten until later. Reza appeared on like 3 pages, so his importance in the end came out of nowhere. The story narrative need to be tightened up. There were some interesting parallel between Tina and other characters but they weren't that fully developed.I had a problem with the art. it's flat and I could understand if it was done as if Tina was drawing it, but it never make that connection. I was also bothered by the fact that no one had black hair. Since the protagonist's family was Indian it would have been a quick way to differentiate them and show the comparative age. It was also a hindrance when Tina is at school because it is hard to distinguish other students.I was able to finish this book because it was short, but I would not recommend it to anyone.
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  • Liz
    January 28, 2015
    I liked a lot of the ideas that were explored in this book, and I particularly liked that the resolution at the end wasn't perfect, but it was addressed as being imperfect. My only beef with the book was that all of the characters are drawn with light hair, so it can become really hard to distinguish between people in scenes with more than a few people in them. That is a really big deal for me, because I end up spending time trying to figure out who is who, and it takes me out of the narrative. I liked a lot of the ideas that were explored in this book, and I particularly liked that the resolution at the end wasn't perfect, but it was addressed as being imperfect. My only beef with the book was that all of the characters are drawn with light hair, so it can become really hard to distinguish between people in scenes with more than a few people in them. That is a really big deal for me, because I end up spending time trying to figure out who is who, and it takes me out of the narrative. There was a lot of grey shading in the artwork, but hardly any actual black and white contrast, and I think that element could have been used to distinguish characters and moods better.
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  • Diane
    August 9, 2013
    I loved this book! Tina is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and has to deal with the usual questions about India - the red dot, the blue god, etc. But Tina is taking a course in Existentialism in her high school, which has led her to ask her own questions, such as "Who am I?" In her existential diary, which comprises the book, Tina addresses Jean-Paul Satre directly, eventually adopting him as something of a benevolent grandfather. The illustrations in this graphic novel are simple yet eloquen I loved this book! Tina is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and has to deal with the usual questions about India - the red dot, the blue god, etc. But Tina is taking a course in Existentialism in her high school, which has led her to ask her own questions, such as "Who am I?" In her existential diary, which comprises the book, Tina addresses Jean-Paul Satre directly, eventually adopting him as something of a benevolent grandfather. The illustrations in this graphic novel are simple yet eloquent in the mode of "Persepoliis." For teens with parents (and extended family) from India, it's a delightful portrayal of the incongruous. Tina has a crush on a surfer dude who turns her on to Neil Young, probably the first person to describe Young as one of the best American rockers of the 70s. Her parents try to arrange marriages for her older brother and sister, with completely unexpected results. A drunken Auntie dispatches wisdom with the following imperitives: "Always remember what lies in here,"(gesturing to heart with sloshing wine glass);"Be true to yourself" and most importantly, "MARRY A EUROPEAN." A great find for readers looking for a book that includes existentialism,BBF betrayal,a high school performance of "Tokyolicious" Rashomon, the worst first kiss ever, and the comfort of a plug-in baby Krishna.
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  • Raina
    March 24, 2012
    First of all, I think the cover on this is absolutely yummy. Rich teal with colored images of the girl and her philosopher.The story isn't bad either. Fairly standard coming-of-age, girl in a private school, crush on the wrong guy, Indian-American, friend-break-up, cast in a play, teenage story. Personally, I didn't feel the influence of the existentialism much at all, except as a gimmick. But it's an engaging enough story.The illustration style is the most unique thing about this. Black and whi First of all, I think the cover on this is absolutely yummy. Rich teal with colored images of the girl and her philosopher.The story isn't bad either. Fairly standard coming-of-age, girl in a private school, crush on the wrong guy, Indian-American, friend-break-up, cast in a play, teenage story. Personally, I didn't feel the influence of the existentialism much at all, except as a gimmick. But it's an engaging enough story.The illustration style is the most unique thing about this. Black and white, and not at all panel-driven. The illustrations bleed to the edges and across spreads, or look like doodles alongside paragraphs of text. There are sections told in panels with speech bubbles, but they're more the exception than the rule. These conventions fit with the "Comic Diary" framing, but I did miss the lush coloring of the cover in the body of the book.I'd booktalk this to high school, because of a plot point involving a staged rape scene. And the philosophical content, even though I didn't feel it dominated.Good, but not particularly memorable.
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  • Angela
    August 9, 2011
    Quick review: While the content and storyline of this graphic novel was smart, I wasn't impressed with its execution or the artwork. Transitions between sections seemed jumpy, even within chapters, and elements of the storyline that could have been really meaningful were either touched on too briefly or conflicts were resolved too easily. The artwork never grabbed me and was too simple for my liking, and the images that spanned two pages were often gulped up in the middle by the binding so that Quick review: While the content and storyline of this graphic novel was smart, I wasn't impressed with its execution or the artwork. Transitions between sections seemed jumpy, even within chapters, and elements of the storyline that could have been really meaningful were either touched on too briefly or conflicts were resolved too easily. The artwork never grabbed me and was too simple for my liking, and the images that spanned two pages were often gulped up in the middle by the binding so that the center of the picture could not be seen. Hopefully the final version will alleviate some of this problem by being bound in hardcover.Note: This review refers to an advance review copy.
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  • Jenna
    November 26, 2013
    3.5 starsInteresting. I wouldn't say it's on par with American Born Chinese but still an entertaining read.
  • Nadine
    May 2, 2016
    Tinas beste Freundin läßt sie fallen, weil sie angeblich zu kindlisch ist und mit ihrem Schwarm will es auch nicht so richtig klappen, ihre Geschwister ziehen das Drama an und Tina versucht, herauszufinden, worum es im Leben geht und beginnt, ein Tagebuch zu führen.Die Geschichte wird mir teilweise zu philosophisch und kratzt dafür in den Beziehungen nur an der Oberfläche, aber die Art, wie die Geschichte erzählt wird, war klasse, der Zeichenstil und die teilweise langen Texte/ Briefe machen das Tinas beste Freundin läßt sie fallen, weil sie angeblich zu kindlisch ist und mit ihrem Schwarm will es auch nicht so richtig klappen, ihre Geschwister ziehen das Drama an und Tina versucht, herauszufinden, worum es im Leben geht und beginnt, ein Tagebuch zu führen.Die Geschichte wird mir teilweise zu philosophisch und kratzt dafür in den Beziehungen nur an der Oberfläche, aber die Art, wie die Geschichte erzählt wird, war klasse, der Zeichenstil und die teilweise langen Texte/ Briefe machen das Buch zu etwas Besonderem.
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  • Kim
    March 18, 2013
    Tina has to do an unusual project for her Existential Philosophy class, so she writes/draws a journal to Jean Paul Sartre, father of existentialism. A great addition to the graphic canon. Funny in a deep way.
  • lucy by the sea
    August 26, 2012
    The story is ok, pretty generic but good. I loved the drawing style, inky and eyebrowish.
  • Blue
    January 5, 2017
    Have New Year's resolutions gone out of style? I haven't heard anyone talking about them recently - and as the new year is only five days old, it is prime resolution announcement season. Or is it just that my friends are jaded, or lazy, and can't be bothered?Not that I'm complaining. Personally I haven't made a new year's resolution in a couple of decades. They always felt more like a Get Ready To Fail list rather than a to-do list of improvements. But, in a move that might make me sound hopeful Have New Year's resolutions gone out of style? I haven't heard anyone talking about them recently - and as the new year is only five days old, it is prime resolution announcement season. Or is it just that my friends are jaded, or lazy, and can't be bothered?Not that I'm complaining. Personally I haven't made a new year's resolution in a couple of decades. They always felt more like a Get Ready To Fail list rather than a to-do list of improvements. But, in a move that might make me sound hopeful about my ability to change (but really just illustrates my nerding out on word choices) I have some "intentions" for 2017 (and, yes, as I wrote that I suddenly remembered what the road to hell is paved in). My reading resolutions include more books by and about people who have different ethnic, religious, or social/economic backgrounds than I do. So the obvious way to do this is to hit up the young adult graphic novel section at the library. Well, maybe not obvious, but well within the spirit of my reading intentions. I wandered past, and saw Tina's Mouth and realized the protagonist wasn't a blue eyed blond, but was in fact an Indian-American, a daughter of immigrants. And maybe this is the real point of reading intentions - that my real goal isn't to attack it like a homework assignment where I graph out which cultures I want to have more exposure to, but to be open and aware of opportunities that fall into my lap? (Or maybe by spring I will decide I do need to have a more carefully mapped out plan. Time will tell)Tina's Mouth felt like a reward for trying to expand my world. How could I not love the opening words? "Dear Mr. Jean-Paul Sartre, I know you are dead and old and also a philosopher. So on an obvious level you and I do not have a lot in common."The story isn't (as you may have guessed with her writing to Sartre) focused on being Indian American, it is focused on Tina, who she is, all the pieces, including a member of an Indian American family. And Keshia Kashyaptells the story well. Tina's Mouth is written in what I think of as the operetta style of graphic novels. And by that I mean sometimes the story is told in words unconnected to illustration. Just like Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas don't have the actors sing every piece of dialog. Refreshing and thoughtful, I really enjoyed reading this book.
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  • Glenda
    January 24, 2012
    This smart, graphic novel will appeal to budding philosophers seeking to answer life's existential questions: Who am I? What purpose can I find in my life? How am I "to be" in this confusing world? Tina, the diary's first-person protagonist sits on her "bench of existential solitude" pondering her life and how to complete her honors English existentialism project. While other students choose to record the contents of the family fridge and refuse, Tina writes a diary to none other than Jean Paul This smart, graphic novel will appeal to budding philosophers seeking to answer life's existential questions: Who am I? What purpose can I find in my life? How am I "to be" in this confusing world? Tina, the diary's first-person protagonist sits on her "bench of existential solitude" pondering her life and how to complete her honors English existentialism project. While other students choose to record the contents of the family fridge and refuse, Tina writes a diary to none other than Jean Paul Sartre, whom she addresses as "Jean," her "dear existential friend," etc. Our heroine confronts the myriad challenges of the average teen: Why did my best friend dump me for a boy? What should I wear? Was that date really a date? Do I have to hang out with my parents and their friends? Why did my first kiss have to be with the garlic-breath geek in the school's production of "Roshomon"? Yes, the school play also seeks existential meaning through a Japanese drama told from multiple points of view!If life's tough, philosophical lectures appeared in graphic novel form, perhaps more of us could confront Sartre's anguished idea that "In a godless universe, life has no meaning beyond the goals that man sets for himself" (30). To discover the meaning Tina finds in her life and how her story mirrors those of the average teen, you'll just have to snoop into Tina's Mouth. She won't mind. After, you'll want to read Sartre's "No Exit" if you haven't yet read it. All this existentialism and intertextuality, too. What more could an English teacher want in a classroom library read?
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  • Nafiza
    November 8, 2012
    Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap and Mari Araki (illustrator) breaks all sorts of boundaries. The novel is an interesting specimen of alternative narration that is sure to appeal to contemporary teens and young adults. Though ostensibly a graphic novel, it straddles the fence between an illustrated novel and a true graphic novel. The illustrations are fun and breezy and I especially love the way the characters have been drawn. Tina has a long-suffering expression on her face which fits in perfectl Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap and Mari Araki (illustrator) breaks all sorts of boundaries. The novel is an interesting specimen of alternative narration that is sure to appeal to contemporary teens and young adults. Though ostensibly a graphic novel, it straddles the fence between an illustrated novel and a true graphic novel. The illustrations are fun and breezy and I especially love the way the characters have been drawn. Tina has a long-suffering expression on her face which fits in perfectly with the tone the novel is written in and her precociousness.I also loved the portrayal of liberal Indian parents for once rather than those who are repressive or oppressive because honestly, my parents are more like the ones found in this novel than anywhere else. Not identical in their attitudes but similar in their thinking styles. But Tina does have to navigate a world that wants to categorize her as Indian or America – God forbid she be both.There are also Tina’s siblings who are facing their own many problems and it is both amusing and familiar to see their lives play out. The relationship dynamics – growth and deterioration of various friends, the betrayals and the inevitable heartache are all related in a fresh voice that steers far from melodrama and angst. The novel is told with a tongue in cheek feel that culminates in the end when Tina’s possibly gay brother announces to the family that he has an announcement to make.Overall, I enjoyed the novel a whole lot and would recommend it to anyone who wants chuckles and good reading.
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  • Courtney
    September 14, 2012
    Tina is having a period of existential solitude. She's just been "dumped" by her best friend and now sits alone at lunch. She has trouble identifying with her classmates, who all seem to fit into neat, tidy groups, and her large Indian-American family. She begins keeping a diary as part of her English Honors project and addresses her entries to the existential heavyweight, Jean-Paul Sartre. Tina finds herself stepping out of her comfort zone to take a break from her solitude. She ends up starrin Tina is having a period of existential solitude. She's just been "dumped" by her best friend and now sits alone at lunch. She has trouble identifying with her classmates, who all seem to fit into neat, tidy groups, and her large Indian-American family. She begins keeping a diary as part of her English Honors project and addresses her entries to the existential heavyweight, Jean-Paul Sartre. Tina finds herself stepping out of her comfort zone to take a break from her solitude. She ends up starring in the school play (Rashomon...must be a pretty progressive school) and going on bike rides with her crush, Neil. It's all going well until she realizes how much kissing will be required of her in the play and all of it with a boy she finds disgusting. The one boy she wants to kiss does not appear to be nearly as interested in Tina as he is in the idea of Tina (he constantly grills her for information about Buddhism in spite of Tina's identifying with atheism), so that's not going so well either.Tina's journey is strikingly realistic and always told in a playful fashion. Tina is a lot of things, many of contradict. She loves her family, but is annoyed by their insular nature. She is bitter about stereotypes, but is willing to overlook them when it comes to that elusive kiss. Tina is like a lot of young women trying to reconcile their identities with their place in the world. Through her writing, Tina realizes some important truths about herself; truths that will likely resonate intellectual teens. A fun, smart read.
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  • Arminzerella
    February 24, 2012
    Tina is of east Asian descent and goes to a very nice private school, Yarborough Academy, in Southern California. She’s a sophomore and her story is told through the diary she’s keeping as an assignment for her Existentialism class. Like most people her age, she’s trying to figure out who she is and where she fits into the universe. Her former best friend just dumped her for a boyfriend and a new group of friends, and Tina is at loose ends. Hurt and angry, she decides to be proactive and she joi Tina is of east Asian descent and goes to a very nice private school, Yarborough Academy, in Southern California. She’s a sophomore and her story is told through the diary she’s keeping as an assignment for her Existentialism class. Like most people her age, she’s trying to figure out who she is and where she fits into the universe. Her former best friend just dumped her for a boyfriend and a new group of friends, and Tina is at loose ends. Hurt and angry, she decides to be proactive and she joins some new activities, tries out for the school play (gets the lead!), and meets some new people. She also finds herself obsessed with a certain boy who sometimes seems to return her interest, but more often than not confuses her. Love is not all it’s cracked up to be. And Being is a lot more difficult than being.Tina doesn’t fit well into the usual groups or stereotypes. She’s kind of quiet and angsty and she dresses a bit punk-rock goth. Although there are cliques at her school, she drifts in the space between them and is her own person. I like that she’s not afraid to confront the boy and that she doesn’t wallow in self-pity when things don’t go her way. She may not have all the answers, but she’s well on her way to figuring things out. “I’m a lot of things,” she says. “Multifaceted.” Relatable, funny, and engrossing.
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  • Dorothy
    June 21, 2013
    I liked this book alright. I wasn't sure whether the drawings were purposefully subpar because they were supposedly drawn by a high-schooler, or just kind of crappy. Anyway. The printed font text didn't always flow with the drawings, either. And for some reason, I never fully approve of a comic that was written and drawn by two separate people. Books with illustrations, fine, but a comic . . . it's just weird. If you're into comics, you just make your comic. The whole thing. So it was weird; the I liked this book alright. I wasn't sure whether the drawings were purposefully subpar because they were supposedly drawn by a high-schooler, or just kind of crappy. Anyway. The printed font text didn't always flow with the drawings, either. And for some reason, I never fully approve of a comic that was written and drawn by two separate people. Books with illustrations, fine, but a comic . . . it's just weird. If you're into comics, you just make your comic. The whole thing. So it was weird; the main character who was supposedly creating this book was, you know, using a font and stuff. ???? It just didn't always read as "genuine". (A book that does it right is _The Popularity Papers_, for example.)And then the content -- I was surprised to find a lot of swearing and drug/sex references . . . a lot of other high school books just don't really go there, so that was kind of off-putting. Not my personal experience, either. I guess it made me hate southern California even more?? I have no idea who the people are who live lives like that. Anyway.The main character was sympathetic, and I did like her musings on life and love and family, etc. She learned about friendship and stupid boys and her own real self. It was a good story! It was just strangely executed and peppered with, "oh, my sister's drug dealer blah blah . . ." What the hell??
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  • Amy
    December 5, 2011
    I am a sucker for witty graphic novels with a female protagonist that don't involve random threesomes. Even if Tina's Mouth had a threesome in it, I think would be more awesome than the rest because the writing is hilarious. Tina's family moved to California from India before she was born, and even though her parents raised her like an upper middle lass white girl, some of the homeland vestiges linger e.g. saris at weekend parties, and matchmakers.Tina's best friend, Alex, "dumps" her when she g I am a sucker for witty graphic novels with a female protagonist that don't involve random threesomes. Even if Tina's Mouth had a threesome in it, I think would be more awesome than the rest because the writing is hilarious. Tina's family moved to California from India before she was born, and even though her parents raised her like an upper middle lass white girl, some of the homeland vestiges linger e.g. saris at weekend parties, and matchmakers.Tina's best friend, Alex, "dumps" her when she gets her first boyfriend leaving Tina to complete her existential diary for philosophy class during a time of personal disaster. For short, Tina refers to this period in her life as the "Post Alex Epoch" (PAE.)Tina gets involved with a new group of students by joining the cast of the school play, and even has her first brush with romance.Kashyap captures the pleasure and pain of the teen years in a way that many writers have not. The diary feels totally authentic in the way Tina thinks and the details in the squiggly drawings. I love this book!
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  • Meagan
    March 11, 2012
    I just blew through this in about an hour. I didn't want to put it down, because it was cute and interesting and reminds me of something that I would have written or done when I was in high school. I like that the art style was consistent with the fact that Tina is a teenage girl, and not something completely mind-bending that didn't match the writing. Given that I can no longer read books without the feminist lens, though, I was disappointed with how Tina made it a point to declare that she was I just blew through this in about an hour. I didn't want to put it down, because it was cute and interesting and reminds me of something that I would have written or done when I was in high school. I like that the art style was consistent with the fact that Tina is a teenage girl, and not something completely mind-bending that didn't match the writing. Given that I can no longer read books without the feminist lens, though, I was disappointed with how Tina made it a point to declare that she was a feminist, but "not too much of one," and then later on, mention that her friend had become "slutty and stupid." That's pretty much the opposite of being a feminist, and I hate the fact that it even had to be included. Tina is a little egotistical and irritating, but she's a teenager and doesn't really know any better. I loved her dynamic with her family, and the matter-of-fact way she identified people not only by who they are, but their flaws. This was absolutely enjoyable, and I'll look forward to more things by Keshni Kashyap.
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  • Jennifer
    August 7, 2013
    This book is good but not great, and falls somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, but I gave it 4 stars, because this book rang true in terms of its descriptions of high schoolers, teenagers and family, and was even a little bit reflective of my high school experiences, which rarely happens. Tina's Mouth has enough self-deprecating humor that the book doesn't come off, at least not to me, as extremely pretentious, despite the fact that the main character reads philosophy books during her "freep" (free This book is good but not great, and falls somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, but I gave it 4 stars, because this book rang true in terms of its descriptions of high schoolers, teenagers and family, and was even a little bit reflective of my high school experiences, which rarely happens. Tina's Mouth has enough self-deprecating humor that the book doesn't come off, at least not to me, as extremely pretentious, despite the fact that the main character reads philosophy books during her "freep" (free period), and several characters talk about what would be classified as "intellectual" topics. I liked seeing smart teenagers that still read like teenagers and not media mouthpieces for authors reflecting on their teenage years. It was also refreshing to read a story about an Indian-American girl (any "hyphenated" American) that wasn't an immigrant story, involved some horrible trauma, or was focused on the teenage angst of an interracial and/or cross-cultural romance.
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  • Romie
    June 18, 2012
    I liked the central conceit of the book, and a lot of things about it were well executed. The sense of place was nicely specific. I found page 147 hysterical, and in general the send-ups of various forms of pretension were witty and novel. But the book didn't really gel for me, largely because the narrator struck me as ingenuine - it read like a 20-something trying to sound like a teenager, and was consequently much flatter than the actual voice of a teenager. That kind of blandness is a killer I liked the central conceit of the book, and a lot of things about it were well executed. The sense of place was nicely specific. I found page 147 hysterical, and in general the send-ups of various forms of pretension were witty and novel. But the book didn't really gel for me, largely because the narrator struck me as ingenuine - it read like a 20-something trying to sound like a teenager, and was consequently much flatter than the actual voice of a teenager. That kind of blandness is a killer when you're rehashing such well-worn narrative territory ("I'm a high school girl stressing about my friendships and a boy I have a crush on"). I needed a stronger viewpoint.It should also be noted that her guiding light is Sartre and I'm firmly in the Camus school.
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  • Emma
    July 24, 2014
    This was very entertaining and it took me no time to get through. The art is nice and simple. I liked the discussions of philosophy in it, even if they were very simplified. Tina said a few judgmental things that bothered me, she also did a little slut shaming but overall I liked her as a character. She was smart and confused at the same time and reading about her dealing with the different relationships in her life was interesting. I also like how the author includes bits about other characters This was very entertaining and it took me no time to get through. The art is nice and simple. I liked the discussions of philosophy in it, even if they were very simplified. Tina said a few judgmental things that bothered me, she also did a little slut shaming but overall I liked her as a character. She was smart and confused at the same time and reading about her dealing with the different relationships in her life was interesting. I also like how the author includes bits about other characters' lives. Overall, very fun and I would recommend it!
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  • Hayden
    March 21, 2012
    Tina writes a diary to Sartre for her wacky existentialist English teacher, revealing all the trials and tribulations of her family, love life, and friendships. I thought the art could have been better, but otherwise good stuff. As Tina archly says, she and her friends are "an veritable picture of twenty-first century ethnic enlightenment, let me tell you."
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  • Sarahanne
    July 20, 2016
    This was a great take on a YA novel. Cliques & cliches thru the eyes of an Indian-American girl with a Sartre filter. Really enjoyable.
  • Claire Scott
    May 18, 2012
    Slight -- not terrible but not particularly interesting or fun either.
  • Karla
    September 18, 2012
    A solid book about identity, friendship and love. Really loved the art.
  • Rebecca
    November 3, 2016
    This was a lovely story about a semester in the life of a young woman trying to answer life's big questions. There's a lot of heart and sweetness, as well as plenty of adolescent drama.
  • Alycia
    January 19, 2017
    Great! If this was around when I was 15, I would probably have read it every day.
  • Tina
    March 8, 2017
    Fun artwork.
  • christa
    April 15, 2012
    Mr. Moosewood, AKA Moose, a popular stoner-hippie teacher -- ponytail and all -- assigns the students in his AP elective a semester-long project of self-discovery that asks “Who are you and who are you becoming?” Fifteen-year-old Tina M. decides to keep a diary during the semester, letters to John-Paul Sartre, in “Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary” by Keshni Kashyap, with illustrations by Mari Araki. The assignment comes just in time. Tina M., Indian-American, three siblings, a decent stu Mr. Moosewood, AKA Moose, a popular stoner-hippie teacher -- ponytail and all -- assigns the students in his AP elective a semester-long project of self-discovery that asks “Who are you and who are you becoming?” Fifteen-year-old Tina M. decides to keep a diary during the semester, letters to John-Paul Sartre, in “Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary” by Keshni Kashyap, with illustrations by Mari Araki. The assignment comes just in time. Tina M., Indian-American, three siblings, a decent student and violin player often seen wearing a “Six Pistols” T-shirt, is in crisis. Her best friend Alex Leach, once practically an appendage, has dumped her for a more popular pasture that includes a new boyfriend. Tina, yet un-kissed, is obsessed with going mouth-to-mouth with Neil, a friendly skateboarder who doesn’t seem not-interested in her. In the meantime, she’s taking a lot of lunches alone and trying to find her place within this upper-tier school in California and it’s cliched caste system. There is some chaos at home, too. Her artistic older sister is back living with their parents after studying architecture in college and then being jilted by her first serious boyfriend. Her brother is an underclassman at Stanford, information that is upping his resale value on dating websites. He’s looking for a wife. Tina M. eventually finds a few other loners to spend time with and is pleasantly surprised that she can chat about philosophy and intellectual pursuits with her new friends, rather than just waxing hysterical about boys, which is her old bestie’s new scene. The art is spare, black and white line drawings, generally light in details, and it’s not always easy to tell which of Tina’s friends or non-friends are represented. These drawings seem secondary to the text, anyway, as there are huge blocks of words that bring this pretty close to the illustrated novel category. This book, told in episodes, is cute. In one scene, a friend of her mom’s gets wrecked on wine and doles out some life advice that becomes increasingly drink-influenced and incoherent. In another scene, Tina goes bike riding with Neil and has this adorable one-on-one that includes the merits of Neil Young and the definition of nirvana -- not the band. And in another, Tina’s family tries to set her sister up with a marriageable man with whom she has nothing in common. Instead she falls for a much-younger tagalong who believes her to be a brilliant artist. Cuteness aside, there isn’t too much here that is new. It’s still the age old story of teen alienation and eventual recovery, but with Sartre thrown into the mix. It sort of feels like the late 1990s or early 2000s when there was an onslaught of teen movies that were all just okay. They weren’t offensive or terrible to watch, but they were pretty predictable and you could probably guess the plot -- and even some minute details -- by just watching the trailer.
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  • Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
    January 4, 2012
    Last week, while browsing through the teen graphic novel section (Why are graphic novels always shelved in the teen section?), I came across this lovely blue-cover title that I remember hearing about from somewhere sometime but didn't know anything about. Books like that usually rate higher with me - maybe the serendipity of picking a random book and not knowing anything about it always keeps me guessing through the end of the book, since I never know what to expect.When I opened the book for th Last week, while browsing through the teen graphic novel section (Why are graphic novels always shelved in the teen section?), I came across this lovely blue-cover title that I remember hearing about from somewhere sometime but didn't know anything about. Books like that usually rate higher with me - maybe the serendipity of picking a random book and not knowing anything about it always keeps me guessing through the end of the book, since I never know what to expect.When I opened the book for the first time, a few days later, it turned out to a very different kind of graphic book from what I had grown accustomed to. This one doesn't have the panels that populate most comic books. Mostly, it has a lot of free uncluttered and very clean drawing. It was almost like calligraphy but in pictures. In addition to being a very beautiful book, there was some prose straddling the pictures. Tina's Mouth is basically Tina's diary. One of her professors gives her class several projects to do - Tina's was to write a diary to discover more about herself. Her diary was a search for answers to questions such as "Who am I?", "What am I?" and many other such questions of an existential nature. Pretty deep for a high school student. In fact, Tina does appear to be a very philosophical person, whether as a result of writing this diary or by nature, I don't know, though she says that she never cared for such questions until she started writing the diary.Tina's life has been going pretty good, what with an inseparable best friend and no worries. But then a little over a year ago, things start to change. After her parents split, her best friend began to get interested in boys and sexy clothes. She abandoned Tina, saying she was too childish. Tina's more-than-friendly-interest in a boy was also turning out to be an opportunity for her, though by the end of the year, she learns a great deal about boys as well.I liked this book for several reasons. Other than the graphics being very magnetic, Tina is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and that's a whole category of books I enjoy reading and identify with a lot. There are several experiences she shares that sometimes made me sympathetic and other times made me very amused. How having to "hang out" with friends of her parent's friends' kids made her feel, how she had to go to Indian parties dressed in strange-fitting Indian clothes that she rarely wore, how she and her siblings all had their share of identity issues. Tina also talks about the many problems she faces in high school - friendship issues, dating, etc. This isn't one of the best graphic books I've read but it was certainly enjoyable in its own way. It's a breezy read and to any graphic novel lover, I would certainly recommend this. If you are just starting out with reading graphic books, or haven't read any yet, there are several others that I would recommend.
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