Are You Listening?
Are You Listening? is an intimate and emotionally soaring story about friendship, grief, and healing from Eisner Award winner Tillie Walden.Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.This magical realistic adventure from the celebrated creator of Spinning and On a Sunbeam will stay with readers long after the final gorgeously illustrated page.

Are You Listening? Details

TitleAre You Listening?
Author
ReleaseSep 10th, 2019
PublisherFirst Second
ISBN-139781250207562
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, LGBT, Young Adult

Are You Listening? Review

  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    the biggest problem i have with graphic novels is always that i never FEEL ANYTHING. there's so little to them. they're like a meringue, and honestly, who likes meringues anyway?but i digress.at the best of times, a graphic novel tends to feel incomplete. this is only truer if that graphic novel contains two separate character arcs, plus a handful of very thorny and complex social issues, plus a near-inexplicable introduction of some very complicated magical realism.basically what i'm saying is the biggest problem i have with graphic novels is always that i never FEEL ANYTHING. there's so little to them. they're like a meringue, and honestly, who likes meringues anyway?but i digress.at the best of times, a graphic novel tends to feel incomplete. this is only truer if that graphic novel contains two separate character arcs, plus a handful of very thorny and complex social issues, plus a near-inexplicable introduction of some very complicated magical realism.basically what i'm saying is that i was incapable of feeling much of anything for these characters, because they never once felt developed to me, and also i had no goddamn idea what was going on for approximately a third of this book.and tragically, neither the fact that it's quite lengthy for a graphic novel or that the art is very very pretty was enough to change that.bottom line: no thank you. except to the art! to that i say yes thank you.----------you had me at "lgbtq+ magical realism graphic novel with gorgeous illustrations and also it's a road trip"(thanks to first second for the ARC)
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  • Jay G
    January 1, 1970
    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...*I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* After running away from home, Bea runs into Lou. They set off on a road trip to West Texas. As the two get to know each other, emotional information is brought to light, Lou tries to be the mentor Bea never had. This was... interesting. Half the time I was a bit confused on what was actually going on. At one Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...*I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* After running away from home, Bea runs into Lou. They set off on a road trip to West Texas. As the two get to know each other, emotional information is brought to light, Lou tries to be the mentor Bea never had. This was... interesting. Half the time I was a bit confused on what was actually going on. At one point I think there was a magical cat? I liked the mix of coloured and black and white panels, I think it worked well for the atmosphere of the graphic novel. I liked Bea and Lou as characters and how they each leaned on each other in their time of need.
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  • Lea (drumsofautumn)
    January 1, 1970
    “You told me. You told me. That's fighting.” This was so, so intense. I didn't know that this had fabulist elements in it, so I was a little bit caught off guard by that but this was so powerful and well done.I read an ARC, so I don't know how this is gonna look fully coloured but the first couple of pages were already so promising and in general the art is absolutely beautiful. I could imagine that I'd give this five stars if I reread a finished copy!Trigger warnings for rape.♦ Booktube Chan “You told me. You told me. That's fighting.” This was so, so intense. I didn't know that this had fabulist elements in it, so I was a little bit caught off guard by that but this was so powerful and well done.I read an ARC, so I don't know how this is gonna look fully coloured but the first couple of pages were already so promising and in general the art is absolutely beautiful. I could imagine that I'd give this five stars if I reread a finished copy!Trigger warnings for rape.♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦This was gifted to me by the wonderful Melanie 💜💜
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    Tillie Walden just gets better and better with every book. She manages to combine painful explorations of emotion and identity with fantasy elements in a way that no one else does.
  • Mari Johnston
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. READ THE BOOK
  • mina reads™️
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars
  • Anna Banana
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThis graphic novel is sorta magical realism and talks about some important topics that I wasn't expecting. I liked how this was about two characters and we kind of see their character arcs start off as parallel to each other and then sort of intersect. The art was really pretty and there were certain scenes that I feel impacted me more because of the art and the art definitely helped infuse the eery and mysterious vibe throughout the entire book where you feel like something is not righ 3.5 starsThis graphic novel is sorta magical realism and talks about some important topics that I wasn't expecting. I liked how this was about two characters and we kind of see their character arcs start off as parallel to each other and then sort of intersect. The art was really pretty and there were certain scenes that I feel impacted me more because of the art and the art definitely helped infuse the eery and mysterious vibe throughout the entire book where you feel like something is not right and something bad will happen and you just keep waiting. Like when you're watching a scary movie. The ending is open ended which is one of my least favorite types of endings but I get it. I also don't feel like I fully cared or felt attached to these characters or this story. It was like I kept reading because of the art but I didn't necessarily care about what was happening on the page? I feel like they are both such interesting characters and had such interesting backstory but I wish we could've gotten more about them, more development, etc. Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)[death of a parent, rape/incest (talked about but not seen) (hide spoiler)]
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  • Cy
    January 1, 1970
    fantastical and weird and dreamy and probably more intended to be felt than understood.
  • Carin
    January 1, 1970
    Bea has run away. At a gas station, she runs into Lou, an older family friend, who is driving to West Texas to visit family. Bea says she is on her way to West Texas too, and Lou gives her a ride. Bea is angry and volatile, but luckily Lou is both understanding and no-nonsense. As the miles tick away, they rescue a lost cat, and determine to try to return her to her home. Mysterious men in a van start following them, and the town where the cat is from seems to have magical elements. as fantastic Bea has run away. At a gas station, she runs into Lou, an older family friend, who is driving to West Texas to visit family. Bea says she is on her way to West Texas too, and Lou gives her a ride. Bea is angry and volatile, but luckily Lou is both understanding and no-nonsense. As the miles tick away, they rescue a lost cat, and determine to try to return her to her home. Mysterious men in a van start following them, and the town where the cat is from seems to have magical elements. as fantastical things happen, Bea and Lou come to understandings about themselves and their pasts, and what they want for their futures. And the cat.Lushly drawn, in a Texas I've never seen before full of snow and magic, these two women come to terms with themselves. With the help of a snow-white cat.
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  • Gretchen Alice
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeous and strange. Are You Listening? offers a heartbreaking and otherworldly look at the effects of both grief and sexual assault. I’m so glad I live in a world where Tillie Walden comics exist.
  • laura (secretpoetreads)
    January 1, 1970
    I feel very meh about this. Like it was cute but at the same time I didn’t feel much about it. But I do like that it’s a very deep story about finding yourself and figuring stuff out. TW: mentions of rape
  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    Are You Listening follows two girls driving through West Texas as it shifts beneath them, and as they get to know each other.The magical surrealism of this comic paid off in about four pages towards the very end; otherwise this book just felt like a fever dream, nightmarish and confusing. I liked those pages, but it could have been a mini comic. I understand that that's how you're supposed to feel, to put you in place of the characters, but I was aggravated because I didn't understand some decis Are You Listening follows two girls driving through West Texas as it shifts beneath them, and as they get to know each other.The magical surrealism of this comic paid off in about four pages towards the very end; otherwise this book just felt like a fever dream, nightmarish and confusing. I liked those pages, but it could have been a mini comic. I understand that that's how you're supposed to feel, to put you in place of the characters, but I was aggravated because I didn't understand some decisions the characters made- mainly, the cat??? Why?
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  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the artwork in this quite a bit, and appreciate the overall story and message. That said, it didn't fully connect with me, as YA Issue books tend to be a bit of a hard sell for me
  • Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow wow wow. This beautifully crafted graphic novel is filled with emotion and is ultimately about learning how to move passed trauma and grief. I was fully consumed by the story, and love Tillie Walden more with each book that I read.
  • Brianna
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, this book. I'll be thinking about it for a long time. CW: Mention of sexual assault
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: Rape by a family memberEach of Walden's projects brings something new to the table. Whether it was the graphic novel memoir of figure skating and sexual identity, or an epic space adventure, and now this story about trauma, recovery, and quiet strength. There's the same gorgeous illustration style with a slightly different color atmosphere than both previous works. And at the (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: Rape by a family memberEach of Walden's projects brings something new to the table. Whether it was the graphic novel memoir of figure skating and sexual identity, or an epic space adventure, and now this story about trauma, recovery, and quiet strength. There's the same gorgeous illustration style with a slightly different color atmosphere than both previous works. And at the heart of Are You Listening? is our desire to be heard. Featuring two gay main characters, this graphic novel is about secrets, grief, and things we don't quite have names for yet. It's about abuse, running from monsters, and what will break us into a thousand pieces. But it's also about finding people, putting ourselves back together, and dealing with loss whether we have left or have been left.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!Once again, Tillie Walden blows me away with her storytelling. In Are You Listening? the narrative focuses on Bea and Lou, two young women on the run from their pasts. Through a chanced meeting, the pair go on a road trip through West Texas, driving through blizzards and buried secrets. There is also the desire to win the affection of a white fluffy cat.If there is one thing I love about Tillie Walden's books, it's that they wear their emotions on their s Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!Once again, Tillie Walden blows me away with her storytelling. In Are You Listening? the narrative focuses on Bea and Lou, two young women on the run from their pasts. Through a chanced meeting, the pair go on a road trip through West Texas, driving through blizzards and buried secrets. There is also the desire to win the affection of a white fluffy cat.If there is one thing I love about Tillie Walden's books, it's that they wear their emotions on their sleeves. Her characters are often uncomfortable and raw, often seeking redemption. Bea and Lou's relationship grows throughout the story as the two confess their secrets to one another, and I love that they are accepting of each other's flaws and supportive when necessary. Bea's reveal is heartbreaking and left me with so much anger, while Lou's story is just so sad and full of discomfort. I felt emotionally connected to both girls throughout the story, and I think Walden continues to do a great job of providing characters that readers can relate to on various levels.I will say the book can be a bit confusing at times, and the ending is a bit lacking. I do think, however, that given this isn't plot-driven story that a lot of what Walden does here, as abstract as it is, will work for readers who want a more character-specific story. I cannot wait to see what Tillie Walden publishers next, because I continue with each new book to be very impressed.
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  • Ben Truong
    January 1, 1970
    Are You Listening? is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Tillie Walden, which centers on two women on the run from their pasts travel across west Texas.Running from her home in small-town Texas, 18-year-old Bea meets Lou, who is taking a road trip to escape her grief after losing her mother. A short lift turns into a longer journey when they find a lost cat and decide to return it to its home.As they search the empty miles of Texas for a town that may not exist, the road takes them to in Are You Listening? is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Tillie Walden, which centers on two women on the run from their pasts travel across west Texas.Running from her home in small-town Texas, 18-year-old Bea meets Lou, who is taking a road trip to escape her grief after losing her mother. A short lift turns into a longer journey when they find a lost cat and decide to return it to its home.As they search the empty miles of Texas for a town that may not exist, the road takes them to increasingly strange places, and menacing strangers begin following them on a hunt for the cat and as the two gradually grow to trust one another, Bea conveys her reason for running away: sexual assault by a family member.Are You Listening? is written and constructed rather well. Walden uses heavily detailed illustrations and luminous, startling color to depict both surreal landscapes and subtle expressions, imbuing the story with equal parts paranoid tension and quiet wonder. The narrative is a mixed success where some moments feel effectively executed, while others feel awkwardly made to fit. Overall, the volume is most successful as a nuanced portrayal of the connection between Bea and Lou, nearly a decade apart in age but young and gay and navigating trauma and loss in rural Texas.All in all, Are You Listening? is a wonderful graphic novel that is overwhelmingly emotional about a pair of women escaping their individual situations.
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  • Fari
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5I just finished reading this in one sitting and I’m not sure what to do with myself now that I’m done. Who was I before I read this? How did I survive without this story in my life?I feel so much for Bea and Lou. It can sometimes be hard to connect with characters during a short graphic novel but these two wormed their way into my heart. I don’t think I’ll necessarily remember them for years to come but they suited the story perfectly.The art was absolutely stunning. Only the first 12 Rating: 4.5I just finished reading this in one sitting and I’m not sure what to do with myself now that I’m done. Who was I before I read this? How did I survive without this story in my life?I feel so much for Bea and Lou. It can sometimes be hard to connect with characters during a short graphic novel but these two wormed their way into my heart. I don’t think I’ll necessarily remember them for years to come but they suited the story perfectly.The art was absolutely stunning. Only the first 12 pages were printed in colour because it’s an ARC but god those pages were certainly breathtaking. I might pick this up from the library after it’s released to see the whole book in all its glory. Emotions and moods all transcended the page, despite it being in black and white. I’m very impressed by the plethora of emotions this book made me feel.Also, the cat was a nice touch. I loved her. Thank you so much to Raincoast for providing me with an ARC to review~
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  • Zsuzsiráf
    January 1, 1970
    i don't even know what to say.there was some magical realism stuff i didn't really get, but maybe that's on me.it focuses on very important topics, such as lgbtq, sexual assault, grief, but it is rather shallow. but for me, the most frustrating thing was that it felt like it was demonizing men. in On a Sunbeam there wasn't any men, but here, this is worse. portraying the father to be instant crazy horrible because he couldn't catch his child who decided(!) to jump down from a tree, because she w i don't even know what to say.there was some magical realism stuff i didn't really get, but maybe that's on me.it focuses on very important topics, such as lgbtq, sexual assault, grief, but it is rather shallow. but for me, the most frustrating thing was that it felt like it was demonizing men. in On a Sunbeam there wasn't any men, but here, this is worse. portraying the father to be instant crazy horrible because he couldn't catch his child who decided(!) to jump down from a tree, because she was scared, without calling the dad to help? hating the word 'he'? REALLY? or is it only me who misunderstands something? because i am a total supporter of lgbtq. but this is too much for me. being a girl and being gay does not mean that all men are evil. could we please stop demonizing men? also, what's with this ending without an actual ending?(and yes, of course the art is stunning)
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    Mostly, I think this one just wasn't for me. The story was a little hard to follow, I often confused the characters because they looked so similar, and a lot seemed to be left out and was assumed the reader could understand what was happening. I'm sure a lot of people will love this based on the content and story but for me, the art and storyline just didn't offer enough to get me connected with either character and their pasts and their reasons for being in their present situations. Also, what Mostly, I think this one just wasn't for me. The story was a little hard to follow, I often confused the characters because they looked so similar, and a lot seemed to be left out and was assumed the reader could understand what was happening. I'm sure a lot of people will love this based on the content and story but for me, the art and storyline just didn't offer enough to get me connected with either character and their pasts and their reasons for being in their present situations. Also, what was up with that cat? There was just a little too much magical realism that I didn't think actually needed to be there. A story about Lou and Bea and their journey of running away from the pain of their pasts and their feelings of being lost would have been enough and probably would have made more of an impact on me than the random story of a lost magical cat that two scary men were after. But again, that might just be me. I think this one is more personal and for me, it just didn't work.Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Finn-
    January 1, 1970
    Although it was good at conveying the emotions of the characters, this felt too dark and too... chaotic? to feel like a good book to me. The magical realism was too magical, and in that sense this book should be considered fantasy. The art, as usual, was amazing, and will be even more amazing when in full color.
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  • Erik Caswell
    January 1, 1970
    I love Tillie Walden, but this was not my fav. meandering, confusing magical elements, and a sort of falling off the cliff ending. I do love the platonic relationship between two lesbian characters and think there's so much need for books about healing queer friendships. especially books that will appeal to kids & teens. but this felt somehow unfinished. rushed. airy
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    Queer magic realism with a very little bit of romance. A quiet, humble story with beautiful, dreamy illustrations. These characters open up to one another and the reader and feel authentic in their struggles and memories. A little strange and hard to follow at times but worth reading.
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  • Tabor
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewWowee, I'm absolutely in love with the worlds that Tillie Walden creates. When I read "On a Sunbeam", I was completely enthralled with the world and how fantastic, a little weird, and like Miyazaki, it was in a new and unique way. This book takes place in Texas and Walden captures the boundless energy of the desert and its strange landforms and neverending roads. It follows Lou and Bea, who happen to meet each other while on the I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewWowee, I'm absolutely in love with the worlds that Tillie Walden creates. When I read "On a Sunbeam", I was completely enthralled with the world and how fantastic, a little weird, and like Miyazaki, it was in a new and unique way. This book takes place in Texas and Walden captures the boundless energy of the desert and its strange landforms and neverending roads. It follows Lou and Bea, who happen to meet each other while on the road. They both come from the same town and they're both looking to leave behind their lives for a little bit. So, begins our journey as the two travel to Lou's aunt's house in a little red car. I thought that this book might be similar to storylines presented in some of Walden's other work, but I was delightfully surprised when a little cat was introduced. While Bea and Lou are driving, Bea finds a cat at a strange grocery store and names it Diamond. One night Lou is stopped by a couple of strangers, who are searching for this cat, and the two must return the cat to the town of West before these men take Diamond. Along the way, long-kept secrets are revealed and at the end, the characters find solace from their journey on the road. While I was completely in love with the visuals and the world presented, I do think that the development of the characters was a little lacking. Overall, I felt that their stories were rushed and their tragic backstories were revealed too quickly. Additionally, the lesson imparted at the end felt a little forced. I think the story would have benefitted if it was of a mammoth proportion like "On a Sunbeam", however, I think the art is absolutely captivating and I'm willing to overlook these faults in the story for that reason alone.
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  • Dipali
    January 1, 1970
    The art is beautiful and the story is heartbreaking. Tillie Walden is becoming one of my favourite graphic novelists/artists.
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely, as always. I adore Tillie Walden's work, and this new book was no exception. A road trip, escaping one's past, coming to terms with loss, and some strange magical doings.
  • Holly Hughes
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsThank you to First Second and Netgalley for providing me with a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. "When something horrible happens, or something amazing...really, anything that's big, it makes you feel like mountains could shatter, or the sky could disappear?" Tillie Walden has done it again. I could spend day after day lost in the beautiful stories and worlds she crafts with both words and images. However, I must admit I wish this particular story had spent more time est 3.5 StarsThank you to First Second and Netgalley for providing me with a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. "When something horrible happens, or something amazing...really, anything that's big, it makes you feel like mountains could shatter, or the sky could disappear?" Tillie Walden has done it again. I could spend day after day lost in the beautiful stories and worlds she crafts with both words and images. However, I must admit I wish this particular story had spent more time establishing the speculative/fantastical elements, because they come out of nowhere, and remain wholly unexplained. "You told me. You told me. That's fighting." What kept me here were the human elements, because Tillie Walden is a master of pouring arguably her whole heart into her characters and their stories and their struggles. I'm sitting here rooting for Bea and Lou long after I've finished the final page.
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  • kate
    January 1, 1970
    tillie walden forever 💛
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I read something and wonder if I really understood it. Are You Listening? is one of those books. I am a big fan of both Spinning and On a Sunbeam, so I was really excited to read Tillie Walden's latest (shout out to NetGalley and First Second Books for the ARC!). The art is absolutely gorgeous. Where Spinning and On A Sunbeam had more limited color palates, Are You Listening is rich with color. I hope to someday cover my walls with Tillie Walden's art. The story is what left me scratch Sometimes I read something and wonder if I really understood it. Are You Listening? is one of those books. I am a big fan of both Spinning and On a Sunbeam, so I was really excited to read Tillie Walden's latest (shout out to NetGalley and First Second Books for the ARC!). The art is absolutely gorgeous. Where Spinning and On A Sunbeam had more limited color palates, Are You Listening is rich with color. I hope to someday cover my walls with Tillie Walden's art. The story is what left me scratching my head. It starts with Lou and Bea running into each other at a gas station. They knew each other growing up and are both running away from painful situations, though Lou seems to have more of a plan than Bea. Lou is traveling to visit her aunt, and after it becomes clear that Bea has no set destination, they set off on a road trip together. The majority of the book is made up of conversations that will feel familiar to anyone who has been on a road trip with a friend. There's something about the shared space of a car that leads to increased vulnerability and emotional intimacy. Along the way, they find a cat which Bea names Diamond. There is a tag that simply says "West," a town that neither of them know. In trying to return Diamond, they are pursued by shadowy figures, and there's a big dose of magical realism. I love magical realism, but compared to the rest of the story, I'm not sure it quite fit. I ended up pretty confused by this plot line. Maybe I need to reread it, but I've seen other reviewers comment the same thing. All in all, I enjoyed reading Are You Listening? I thought it dealt with the subject of grief and attempting to run away from pain in interesting ways. I have to admit I was a little letdown by the confusing cat subplot, but this was still a good read. Read On A Sunbeam first, though.
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