Potential

Potential Details

TitlePotential
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 15th, 2008
PublisherTouchstone
ISBN094315104X
ISBN-139780943151045
Number of pages224 pages
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Autobiography, Memoir, Glbt, Queer

Potential Review

  • Patricia
    September 17, 2010
    This is by far my favorite volume of Ariel Schrag's autobiographical high school comic chronicles, which she wrote as a teenager, releasing each volume the year after the events it describes. While Definition, the sophomore year volume, is a light read that lacks substance, and Likewise, the senior year volume, becomes weighed down by its own literary pretensions, Potential manages to strike a satisfying balance between stylistic experimentation and narrative.The bulk of the story deals with Ari This is by far my favorite volume of Ariel Schrag's autobiographical high school comic chronicles, which she wrote as a teenager, releasing each volume the year after the events it describes. While Definition, the sophomore year volume, is a light read that lacks substance, and Likewise, the senior year volume, becomes weighed down by its own literary pretensions, Potential manages to strike a satisfying balance between stylistic experimentation and narrative.The bulk of the story deals with Ariel's year-long relationship with first love Sally, who may or may not actually be straight. Some of their interactions are truly wrenching, and I really felt for Ariel in way that I didn't in other volumes of the series--Schrag captures the awkward insecurity of being a teenager pitch-perfectly here, and manages to successfully interweave the many preoccupations of high school (family, classes, substance experimentation, sexual experimentation, shifting social groups) without making the graphic novel feel overcrowded or disjointed, as Likewise does.An interesting sidenote: Schrag grew up in Berkeley, and it seems as though she not only had a queer community at her high school, but that almost all the girls that she was friends with were also queer, or at least bi-curious. Ariel and Sally even have a conversation about who in their school is a "real" lesbian and who's just faking it. My high school certainly didn't have this relationship to queerness... I wonder how many actually do?Ultimately, Potential could stand alone as a self-contained work, and of Schrag's high school chronicles, I would probably recommend only this volume to other graphic novel fans.
    more
  • 菁华
    June 19, 2012
    Okay, so I have some reservations about giving a book five stars when it contains a lot of fatphobia, butchphobia and coercive sex scenes. But it deals with all of that really honestly and bravely and I think it would be less realistic without it. It's an autobiographical comic written when the author/artist was actually 16-17 and I had some similar attitudes when I was that age. I did get a little bored, annoyed and frustrated with the last third or so where -- spoiler alert! -- the narrator-pr Okay, so I have some reservations about giving a book five stars when it contains a lot of fatphobia, butchphobia and coercive sex scenes. But it deals with all of that really honestly and bravely and I think it would be less realistic without it. It's an autobiographical comic written when the author/artist was actually 16-17 and I had some similar attitudes when I was that age. I did get a little bored, annoyed and frustrated with the last third or so where -- spoiler alert! -- the narrator-protagonist is just like "woe, my girlfriend doesn't want to have sex with me" forever but at the same time I get it and I really like the last page. I feel like this book both captures that teenage moment of constant anticipation and "potential" perfectly but without being naff or overly nostalgic to read when you're older (well, I'm in my mid 20s so I guess being seventeen wasn't that long ago, but still). I probably still have much of the same angst now about relationships and identity and who's more queer/what's queer here etc. The art is beautiful, especially the contrast in styles between the regular panels and the dream/though panels. At the same time it's simple enough not to distract from the story which can be a problem for me in some graphic novels where the panels are too busy and I lose track of what's happening. I mean, I guess there's a lot of ways to structure graphic novel narrative and if it's a less linear story with a lot of full page illustrations then that can also work but personally I'm really into the traditional strip format. I can't believe how young the author was, why wasn't I writing stuff like this in high school?!Comparisons to Alison Bechdel are inevitable and Bechdel provides the quote on the cover. While this is really hilarious in parts, in general I would say Potential is more moving and introspective and less funny than most of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For. I liked it heaps more than Skim, which is another teen lesbian graphic novel classic. The mood is maybe similar to Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic but it's more sequential, definitely feels like a strip while Fun Home is very much crafted like a novel.
    more
  • Jenny Devildoll
    November 22, 2010
    Too one sided, possibly not enough time given to reflect on events before chronicling them. Also, I'd love to get some of Ariel's girlfriends' side of the story--it seems she portrays everyone she dates as mean or unreasonable, while she's always the victim.
    more
  • Matt
    September 13, 2007
    Sometimes the best way to tell how much I've enjoyed a book is to examine the spine. A quick glance at my bookshelf reveals that my copy of Ariel Schrag's Potential is cracked in about twenty-three different places.I'm a huge fan of this book. It may be because it's one of the first truly alternative comic books that did anything for me. It may be the fact that I knew Schrag put this book together while she was still in high school. It may be the way that it tackles GLBT issues without stumbling Sometimes the best way to tell how much I've enjoyed a book is to examine the spine. A quick glance at my bookshelf reveals that my copy of Ariel Schrag's Potential is cracked in about twenty-three different places.I'm a huge fan of this book. It may be because it's one of the first truly alternative comic books that did anything for me. It may be the fact that I knew Schrag put this book together while she was still in high school. It may be the way that it tackles GLBT issues without stumbling into a series of adolescent storytelling clichés. Whatever it is, I've loved reading it again and again over the years.I do cringe a bit when I hear people say that the book is, "pretty good for a sixteen year old." In my opinion, Schrag examines her own life with an honest clarity that most adult memoirs wish they could achieve. The art itself is expressive and wonderful. To someone reading alternative comics for the first time, it may appear a bit slapped together. But as the book progresses, it's easy to see that the artist is quite sure of herself and the rudimentary style works to enhance the story. Throughout the novel, Schrag deals with interpersonal relationships and sexually explicit material with the grace of a seasoned storyteller. She convincingly portrays the dual intensity and painful awkwardness of high school romance. A very engaging read.Also, keep an eye out for Potential's predecessor, Definition. While it does manage to be a quick and entertaining read, it lacks a bit of the emotional depth achieved in the Shrag's later work. Still, it’s worth finding a copy if only to get a glimpse of her sophomore year. I very much look forward to reading Likewise, the chronicle of her senior year, when it is eventually collected and released.
    more
  • Emilia P
    March 4, 2010
    Hm. Well of course my zeal for these books with expire just as I purchased the final two. Potential is about Schrag's junior year, where, honestly, I think her transition to straight-up-gay is a little oversimplified. "And then I broke up with my boyfriend and that was totally easy!" But then being gay is not as awesome as she expected it to be which I think was probably the best thing about this book -- defining your sexuality one way or another doesn't make life easier. Kids get sad and feel t Hm. Well of course my zeal for these books with expire just as I purchased the final two. Potential is about Schrag's junior year, where, honestly, I think her transition to straight-up-gay is a little oversimplified. "And then I broke up with my boyfriend and that was totally easy!" But then being gay is not as awesome as she expected it to be which I think was probably the best thing about this book -- defining your sexuality one way or another doesn't make life easier. Kids get sad and feel things way too deeply and get each other embroiled in it in high school, staring at each other, falling apart into nothingness, and this book was about that way more than the joyful chaos of the first few books... and oh the art is getting both more varied and more controlled. It's nice how it changes from year to year.Less Julia, less school, more intense focus on a few mopey characters. Also a little too much "I have a comic book" self-conciousness.All that said, I still I identify alot with Schrag and am glad for her self-documentary sense and maybe someday I can own the whole series. I wonder if senior year will see a resolution.Ah P.S. her dislike of fat butch dykes totally lost her points with me. I guess this is a personal beef, but she seemed to be putting some of her own issues on them, which was lame. The end!
    more
  • Hannah Messler
    February 1, 2013
    Reading this, it's hard not to feel flabbergasted by the fact that it was created by a teenager. Potential is Ariel Schrag's memoir of her junior year in high school, and it's brilliant enough to make you pretty frukken antsy to get your paws on the follow-up material; it's also derfy and seventeen-y enough to make you be like meh I will probly read the earlier stuff but not right now.She does these little dream sequences where the way she draws the expressions on people's faces makes you just w Reading this, it's hard not to feel flabbergasted by the fact that it was created by a teenager. Potential is Ariel Schrag's memoir of her junior year in high school, and it's brilliant enough to make you pretty frukken antsy to get your paws on the follow-up material; it's also derfy and seventeen-y enough to make you be like meh I will probly read the earlier stuff but not right now.She does these little dream sequences where the way she draws the expressions on people's faces makes you just want to . . . I don't even know, but that eeky creepy feeling where you just love something SO MUCH that the corners of your eyeballs itch a little and it feels like the nerves in your feet are too sensitive to bear the earth? They are really really REALLY good looking, these drawings. She's exactly the same age as me, too, and I've been having this long year of mourning over what a buttfuckery I've made of my life, so it's pretty I donno like poignant or something to see a life's thread that didn't just unravel entirely. I am full of I-wish-I's these days, and I wish I had been less interested in blackouts and more interested in pursuing art when I was a teenager. It's cool to see what it looks like, when someone does it. It looks really good.
    more
  • A.K.
    March 20, 2009
    The art pushed this down to 3 stars. It probably would have taken a year longer to finish had Schrag illustrated the entire comic as she did her dream sequences, and I suppose that the contrast of their detailed emotional reality with the more cartoonishly and cutely drawn images from her waking life could be a narrative device. But I liked the look of them best, and just wished it all looked that good.The title of the comic itself is an operative word for Schrag as she somehow gets through her The art pushed this down to 3 stars. It probably would have taken a year longer to finish had Schrag illustrated the entire comic as she did her dream sequences, and I suppose that the contrast of their detailed emotional reality with the more cartoonishly and cutely drawn images from her waking life could be a narrative device. But I liked the look of them best, and just wished it all looked that good.The title of the comic itself is an operative word for Schrag as she somehow gets through her junior year. Days start with it, and days are good or bad depending on if it is drained or not, and it has a lot to do with girls and their bodies but not everything. Not everything at all. Young Ariel's neurotic tendencies, down to her obsession with "balancing" her clothes, remind me very much of myself at that age. Her yearning, her coping, her confusion, her shitty relationships, her immaturity and her sometimes clarity all ring painfully true. I laughed out loud, I cringed, I wished that I had recorded my high school years thusly and I thanked myself that I didn't.
    more
  • Ruth
    October 27, 2008
    This was my second birthday-present-to-myself comic. It's also of the queer coming of age genre, but it's autobigraphical and much more complicated. In the beginning I quickly figured out that the narrator went to some high school where it was really hip to be a lesbian which is cool, but then she just seemed to always be either getting drunk and hooking up (or trying to hook up) and frenetically studying biology and math and I just didn't get it. But I plugged through it and there are some huma This was my second birthday-present-to-myself comic. It's also of the queer coming of age genre, but it's autobigraphical and much more complicated. In the beginning I quickly figured out that the narrator went to some high school where it was really hip to be a lesbian which is cool, but then she just seemed to always be either getting drunk and hooking up (or trying to hook up) and frenetically studying biology and math and I just didn't get it. But I plugged through it and there are some human moments in there, mostly when she goes through the process of slowly realizing that her girlfriend is losing interest in her... I really felt her teenaged pain. The other thing I liked was the way the dream sequences are drawn super-realistically, unlike the rest of the comic, and also how when people were drunk their words came out all wiggly.
    more
  • Jessica
    September 26, 2007
    I really do cherish this book, even after watching Schrag go on national television and admit that she made the whole thing up. Maybe I just feel bad for her after watching Oprah tear her a new one.... but honestly, what kind of state is the book industry in, that talented comic book writers feel they must pose as gay teenagers in order to get published??? Well, those revelations when Killer Films took her to court sure explained a lot about Schrag's mental state at the time. Sometimes the line I really do cherish this book, even after watching Schrag go on national television and admit that she made the whole thing up. Maybe I just feel bad for her after watching Oprah tear her a new one.... but honestly, what kind of state is the book industry in, that talented comic book writers feel they must pose as gay teenagers in order to get published??? Well, those revelations when Killer Films took her to court sure explained a lot about Schrag's mental state at the time. Sometimes the line between creative genius and confused madness seems so wispily slim....However, I for one don't care a bit! Whether it's true or not, this is one of my favorite books of all time. I especially like the illustrations. They remind me of my own high school experiences, including a few I would rather forget.
    more
  • Peacegal
    November 16, 2010
    While this graphic novel will probably be cherished by gay teens coming to terms with their sexuality, I just couldn’t relate. And it’s just not because I’m not gay; it’s because the vast majority of the storyline centered on the protagonist’s high school relationships and teenage sexual awkwardness. Seeing as I didn’t even go out on a single date in high school, I just couldn’t get into this one.
    more
  • Richard Van Camp
    November 7, 2012
    I love this book. I think Ariel's honesty saves lives. Thank you, Ariel, for your bravery and courage in creating this gorgeous narrative. I've bought so many copies that I end up giving away to people searching for answers about their sexuality. I'm about to buy two more and they're already marked for friends I care so deeply about. I love it.
    more
  • Tammy
    November 3, 2008
    Ugh, high school. Drawn with conviction by a survivor. It's hard to imagine that Schrag completed each of these graphic novels the summer after the year each one depicts. They just keep getting better (and more painful). Well done, Ariel.
  • Alison
    December 8, 2008
    This is a really lovely graphic novel about high school. Ah, the drama.
  • Stef
    September 13, 2016
    I abandoned this early on. The constant hammer-over-the-head overuse of the word POTENTIAL came across as clumsy and repetitive instead of artful and drowned out the actual story.
  • Stewart Tame
    March 29, 2013
    I have to say that I don't remember this much sturm und drang from my high school days. Of course I went to a much smaller high school, among other differences. I confess that I've been reading this series backwards. The first Ariel Schrag book I read was Likewise, which covers her senior year. Potential deals with the junior year. Of the two, I like Potential better. There seems to be more focus, more of a storyline, though that's really more to do with Ariel's life than any failing on her part I have to say that I don't remember this much sturm und drang from my high school days. Of course I went to a much smaller high school, among other differences. I confess that I've been reading this series backwards. The first Ariel Schrag book I read was Likewise, which covers her senior year. Potential deals with the junior year. Of the two, I like Potential better. There seems to be more focus, more of a storyline, though that's really more to do with Ariel's life than any failing on her part as a comics artist. When you write autobiography, you're rather limited as far as source material goes, and sometimes life doesn't hand out coherent stories. I'm in awe of Schrag's talent as a storyteller. She has a telling eye for detail. I didn't keep a diary or anything during high school, but from the limited things I can remember--as I write this, my 30 year high school reunion is coming up next year--she's got a lot of it right, the highs and lows, and the swiftness of going from friends to lovers to enemies to friends again, it all rings true. The way she shifts to a more realistic drawing style for the dream sequences is a nice touch. Even if her high school experience doesn't exactly mirror your own (I personally never had to deal with the question of my sexual orientation, for instance), there's a lot of universal emotion and common experience at work here. This is an excellent book!
    more
  • Korynn
    April 19, 2009
    "Potential" drags the reader back to high school, which this clever autobiographer notes all her experiences at Berkeley High and regurgitates them into cartoon format, and then, earning my great admiration proceeded to elect a theme of "Potential" that runs throughout the stories of her life, like Sesame Street's word of the day (or in this case, junior year). Painfully honest, the author apparently found herself in the typical identity struggle/crisis of the teen years which is drawn in detail "Potential" drags the reader back to high school, which this clever autobiographer notes all her experiences at Berkeley High and regurgitates them into cartoon format, and then, earning my great admiration proceeded to elect a theme of "Potential" that runs throughout the stories of her life, like Sesame Street's word of the day (or in this case, junior year). Painfully honest, the author apparently found herself in the typical identity struggle/crisis of the teen years which is drawn in detail in this book. It features the personal realization of the author's homosexuality and ensuing relationships and entanglements. It also details the (extremely boring to me) typical escapades of the teen: drinking loads of alcohol to excess whenever possible, never missing a chance for smoking pot or making out, having relationships for the sake of just being in a relationship, participating in the supposed rite of passage that is junior prom, and the strange myth that one must lose one's virginity to a member of the opposite sex by 17. Just for the sake of losing one's virginity. Not for pleasure or anything like that. But those aren't the fault of the book, that's just the way one 17-year old thought at the time. The art varies highly - it can be very cartoony and exaggerated and differs depending on when it was drawn. And then there's the splices of amazingly detailed realistic dream sequences...An interesting work, but deeply personal.
    more
  • Kit
    September 13, 2009
    This is book two in Ariel Schrag's series of autobiographical graphic novel chronicling her high school years. Potential is about her junior year and tells the story of her coming out as a lesbian, her first time falling for a girl, and her parents' divorce. She attended Berkeley High School in the mid-90s and I am amazed at how different her high school experience was than mine at Evergreen in the early 00s. Berkeley is ages ahead of Vancouver and it shows strongly even though Schrag doesn't ov This is book two in Ariel Schrag's series of autobiographical graphic novel chronicling her high school years. Potential is about her junior year and tells the story of her coming out as a lesbian, her first time falling for a girl, and her parents' divorce. She attended Berkeley High School in the mid-90s and I am amazed at how different her high school experience was than mine at Evergreen in the early 00s. Berkeley is ages ahead of Vancouver and it shows strongly even though Schrag doesn't overtly deal with anything political in her story.Schrag wrote each book after the year in which she is writing about, so it is pretty obvious that it was written by a young author. It falls short of great literature, but I find the immaturity of it all to be part of its charm. Because the memories are so fresh in her mind at the time of writing, Schrag has managed to create one of, if not the, most brutally honest and meticulously detailed memoir of coming of age I have ever read.The other great part of this series is watching her skills develop both as an artist and as a storyteller. The artwork is exponentially better in this book than in her first book and is noticeably better on the last page than on the first. I am looking forward to reading Likewise, the final book in the series chronicling her senior year, which promises to have even better art and a more compelling storyline.
    more
  • MariNaomi
    January 12, 2011
    At first, I had some difficulty getting over this book's art styles and shifts (sometimes it's sloppy with no purpose, sometimes it's amazing and beautiful, and sometimes it's amazing and beautiful in its deft use of sloppiness), but the story quickly swept me away, and by the end of the book the author seemed to have a better handle on her use of artistic technique as a storytelling tool. The story was sweet and aching, pinpointing precisely the anguish of being in an uneven relationship (parti At first, I had some difficulty getting over this book's art styles and shifts (sometimes it's sloppy with no purpose, sometimes it's amazing and beautiful, and sometimes it's amazing and beautiful in its deft use of sloppiness), but the story quickly swept me away, and by the end of the book the author seemed to have a better handle on her use of artistic technique as a storytelling tool. The story was sweet and aching, pinpointing precisely the anguish of being in an uneven relationship (particularly at a young age, although honestly, it never feels good to be on the yearning side of an imbalanced relationship). What especially got to me was watching her having meltdowns as her girlfriend pulled away--something we (or many of us) can't help but doing, even though we logically know it's just making things worse. Heartbreaking.The only problem I found with the storytelling was the constant repetition of the word "potential," which would sometimes show up multiple times per page. It's the kind of storytelling technique that you discover in high school and think is the bomb, but when you read it again later you cringe at its lack of subtlety. But since the author actually wrote it in high school, I tried to be forgiving.All in all, it was a good book (exceptional, considering the age of the author at the time of its creation), and I look forward to reading more of her work.
    more
  • Jim
    September 24, 2010
    Potential is the third book in Arial Schrag's autobiographical comics written during her high school years. This book covers her 11th grade and was written after her junior year and based on notes she had taken during the time along with journal entries. While her first two books, Awkward and Definition had some humor along with teen angst, this book leans more to the darker side of teen life. There are moments of deep anxiety, despair and self doubt bordering on pathos. Yet, it is truly amazing Potential is the third book in Arial Schrag's autobiographical comics written during her high school years. This book covers her 11th grade and was written after her junior year and based on notes she had taken during the time along with journal entries. While her first two books, Awkward and Definition had some humor along with teen angst, this book leans more to the darker side of teen life. There are moments of deep anxiety, despair and self doubt bordering on pathos. Yet, it is truly amazing the depth of thought and struggle that she goes through trying to find her way through adolescence in the 90's. I found one scene in the book very enlightening and thought provoking. Ariel and her girlfriend are talking with their art teacher, who is a lesbian about the idea of virginity. Ariel asks how does a lesbian know if she has lost her virginity or not. She says that heterosexual people have a clear definition of what it means to lose your virginity, while lesbians did not. What ensued was an exploration of how one defines such things. I found the discussion fascinating and illuminating.I'm looking forward to the next book.
    more
  • Levi Amichai
    February 28, 2010
    Found it on the library book cart at Pride (yay!!). Kind of disturbing, and sometimes I couldn't tell if it was intentional or not. There are very few black people (and no real black characters), and every time a black person appears in a panel they're yelling or angry or intimidating or outright scary---I'm pretty sure that wasn't intentional. Also some unexpected homophobia ('butches are icky and gross eww')---maybe it was being lampshaded? And weird consent stuff, which Schrag didn't directly Found it on the library book cart at Pride (yay!!). Kind of disturbing, and sometimes I couldn't tell if it was intentional or not. There are very few black people (and no real black characters), and every time a black person appears in a panel they're yelling or angry or intimidating or outright scary---I'm pretty sure that wasn't intentional. Also some unexpected homophobia ('butches are icky and gross eww')---maybe it was being lampshaded? And weird consent stuff, which Schrag didn't directly address, but I was fairly sure that she was trying to portray it in an honest and self-critical light.Overall, I think I didn't connect strongly because I didn't have any messy stupid messed-up high school relationships. I know I'm in the minority there. (I was a complete classic naiive nerd---shocking, I know.) I don't have a strong desire to go back and read the first one, but I think I will look out for the next one along, since the improvements in art and storytelling were so vast from beginning to end of this volume.
    more
  • Jodi
    February 28, 2010
    When we last left off, Ariel Schrag had just finished tenth grade. As good as her freshmen and sophomore years were to read, junior year is even better.The first thing I noticed about Potential the second book in Schrag’s high school chronicles, is that her drawing skills vastly improved from sophomore to junior year. Gone is the amateurish, cartoons and in their place are drawings with real depth and emotion. The art here is really clever, not only does she depict various moods altered by chemi When we last left off, Ariel Schrag had just finished tenth grade. As good as her freshmen and sophomore years were to read, junior year is even better.The first thing I noticed about Potential the second book in Schrag’s high school chronicles, is that her drawing skills vastly improved from sophomore to junior year. Gone is the amateurish, cartoons and in their place are drawings with real depth and emotion. The art here is really clever, not only does she depict various moods altered by chemicals (one kind of border represents being drunk, another represents being high) but she really packs a lot of emotion in her character’s faces. My favorite is the hot, young Alexis, one of Schrag’s girlfriends who is pretty but dumb. The girl is drawn with empty eyes. It’s a nice touch, and there are a lot of touches throughout. Another bit of art awesome is the dream sequences which become increasingly realistic compared to the comic aspect of daily life.Read more
    more
  • Rachel
    January 25, 2015
    Hm. I liked this. It was a little slow going at parts. And when my girlfriend saw it, she accused me of reading porn. I grabbed this one off the graphic novel shelf while looking for The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, because it was a 92 and looked vaguely gay. Yup. It was that. But so is a lot in the intersection of memoir and graphic novel. I felt an understanding of Ariel at several points. This sequence, towards the end, struck me in particular: "She started trying to pull me up and I end alon Hm. I liked this. It was a little slow going at parts. And when my girlfriend saw it, she accused me of reading porn. I grabbed this one off the graphic novel shelf while looking for The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, because it was a 92 and looked vaguely gay. Yup. It was that. But so is a lot in the intersection of memoir and graphic novel. I felt an understanding of Ariel at several points. This sequence, towards the end, struck me in particular: "She started trying to pull me up and I end along only because resisting would be contrary to my weak and placid motif. [...] I looked back up at Sally and all I could think was how I don't like to think and I don't like to think about not thinking because I just end up depressed and that's how it is and this was the prom and here I am, and that's how it will always be." I need to get better at talking. Sigh.
    more
  • Anne
    July 24, 2011
    I love autobiographical comics so I had to read this. Library had the sequel but not prequel so here is where I started. Pictures -- at first, hard for me to distinguish who was who. Like real high school, many of the kids have kind of the same look. These are more "cartoonish" than most books like this (nothing as artsy as "Fun Home," e.g.), except for the dream sequences where (oddly enough) the people look more realistic. Story -- very engaging! Even though I don't have much in common wrt age I love autobiographical comics so I had to read this. Library had the sequel but not prequel so here is where I started. Pictures -- at first, hard for me to distinguish who was who. Like real high school, many of the kids have kind of the same look. These are more "cartoonish" than most books like this (nothing as artsy as "Fun Home," e.g.), except for the dream sequences where (oddly enough) the people look more realistic. Story -- very engaging! Even though I don't have much in common wrt age, geographic area, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. etc. -- I still found much to relate to. Kind of amazing! So, if you're a huge fan of this type of book, don't mind lots of sex pictures or minimal drug use (but it's all part of the story, see?), and don't hate on stories about teenagers, you will most likely like this book. I did.
    more
  • Marissa
    February 18, 2009
    I think that this is a really good graphic novel considering how young Schrag was when she wrote it, although I don't know if it's quite as mind-blowing as some people say and I don't know what to think about the fact that they're making it into a movie. As comics in the confessional genre go, I think the story-telling is strong, her character is really likeable and sympathetic, and the emotions are honest. I like the drawing style, although it can border on a little too cute sometimes. It's int I think that this is a really good graphic novel considering how young Schrag was when she wrote it, although I don't know if it's quite as mind-blowing as some people say and I don't know what to think about the fact that they're making it into a movie. As comics in the confessional genre go, I think the story-telling is strong, her character is really likeable and sympathetic, and the emotions are honest. I like the drawing style, although it can border on a little too cute sometimes. It's interesting to read something in the voice of someone from my own generation, and I think the things I don't like about the characters in her comics are similar to what I don't like in other people my age sometimes. With that said, aside from some of my personal biases it's pretty alright.
    more
  • Hayley
    February 15, 2015
    Where the first two years of Ariel Schrag's high school years were filled with awkward hilarity and bubbling enthusiasm, her junior year also carries with it the emotional turmoil of family drama and her first love with a girl.I can't praise Ariel loud enough for the bravery she displays here, at age 17, for depicting the highs and lows of teen life. When she's striving for maximum potential, I cheered along with her. During her saddest moments, it's powerfully moving.It's difficult to talk abou Where the first two years of Ariel Schrag's high school years were filled with awkward hilarity and bubbling enthusiasm, her junior year also carries with it the emotional turmoil of family drama and her first love with a girl.I can't praise Ariel loud enough for the bravery she displays here, at age 17, for depicting the highs and lows of teen life. When she's striving for maximum potential, I cheered along with her. During her saddest moments, it's powerfully moving.It's difficult to talk about this one without revealing specific events, but I wouldn't want to rob anyone of reading this with fresh expectations. Highly effective storytelling that succeeds in astonishing ways.
    more
  • Meryl
    April 19, 2013
    Two stars. Not one star, because the part about "losing her virginity", I guess the "real way" as she thought, was actually pretty funny to me. Pretty ignorant and shitty, but I mean she is in high school so whatever. But that's pretty much the only thing that saved this book from getting one star. I still consider it a waste of paper, though, because the story is awful and repetitive, not to mention the horrible artwork. I know she was young when she published this book, but it was so hard for Two stars. Not one star, because the part about "losing her virginity", I guess the "real way" as she thought, was actually pretty funny to me. Pretty ignorant and shitty, but I mean she is in high school so whatever. But that's pretty much the only thing that saved this book from getting one star. I still consider it a waste of paper, though, because the story is awful and repetitive, not to mention the horrible artwork. I know she was young when she published this book, but it was so hard for me to look at. I can't wait to sell it back to the internet world. I'm sorry I ever considered reading it.
    more
  • Rachel
    March 11, 2009
    Yet another graphic novel about high school. I swear is this the only period in people's lives they feel the need to write/draw about? Doesn't anything worth writing happen after the age of 18? Where are all the graphic novels about being 30 and married! Anyway, this is a fine example of the many other graphic novels of it's kind. The only thing that makes it stand out is that it centers on a teenage girl discovering her sexuality which involves her being a lesbian. It was very real and honest a Yet another graphic novel about high school. I swear is this the only period in people's lives they feel the need to write/draw about? Doesn't anything worth writing happen after the age of 18? Where are all the graphic novels about being 30 and married! Anyway, this is a fine example of the many other graphic novels of it's kind. The only thing that makes it stand out is that it centers on a teenage girl discovering her sexuality which involves her being a lesbian. It was very real and honest and had some very funny moments.Still, I would like to see a graphic novel about Ariel's life now. I'm sure it's just as interesting.
    more
  • elissa
    February 24, 2009
    3 1/2 to 4. I definitely enjoyed this, and found it to be a quick read, but it's slightly too confessional and graphic for my taste. I found myself having to hunch over all of the nudity & sex when I was reading it in public, so that nobody could spy on what I was reading, and I had mixed feelings about my kids opening it up while it was in the house, so I'm slightly relieved to be taking it back to the library today. I do think it's absolutely appropriate for high schoolers, and I'm no prud 3 1/2 to 4. I definitely enjoyed this, and found it to be a quick read, but it's slightly too confessional and graphic for my taste. I found myself having to hunch over all of the nudity & sex when I was reading it in public, so that nobody could spy on what I was reading, and I had mixed feelings about my kids opening it up while it was in the house, so I'm slightly relieved to be taking it back to the library today. I do think it's absolutely appropriate for high schoolers, and I'm no prude, but I probably would have been embarassed to be seen reading some of this when I was a teenager, too.
    more
  • Kate
    February 5, 2013
    I really enjoyed this book. Ariel Schrag is insightful and funny and her brutal honesty is refreshing and heartbreaking. This book is certainly not *just* for lesbians, the themes are universal. If you've been to high school, they resonate and, if you haven't been to high school yet, the material probably isn't quite age-appropriate. The book feels very real and this keeps the content from feeling too preachy or precious. I will definitely be picking up more of Schrag's books in the near future! I really enjoyed this book. Ariel Schrag is insightful and funny and her brutal honesty is refreshing and heartbreaking. This book is certainly not *just* for lesbians, the themes are universal. If you've been to high school, they resonate and, if you haven't been to high school yet, the material probably isn't quite age-appropriate. The book feels very real and this keeps the content from feeling too preachy or precious. I will definitely be picking up more of Schrag's books in the near future! :)
    more
  • Matt
    July 16, 2008
    i didn't read all of this. what i did read was a pretty nice, brutally truthful window. why i didn't read more... to be brutally honest, it's like the diary of teenage lesbian/punker and while i can relate to her subculturally, i felt too voyeuristic. like a gross old man reading personal details i really had no business being a party to. it's that good in a way. i would totally recommend it to my 14 year old punker cousin. i just personally have too much respect for her demographic to go sticki i didn't read all of this. what i did read was a pretty nice, brutally truthful window. why i didn't read more... to be brutally honest, it's like the diary of teenage lesbian/punker and while i can relate to her subculturally, i felt too voyeuristic. like a gross old man reading personal details i really had no business being a party to. it's that good in a way. i would totally recommend it to my 14 year old punker cousin. i just personally have too much respect for her demographic to go sticking my nose into all those most personal spaces. does that make sense? i hope so.
    more
Write a review