Book Review

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Genre | YA Contemporary Fiction Graphic Novel
Page #s | 289
Publishing Date | May 2019

All Freddy Riley wants is for Laura Dean to stop breaking up with her.

The day they got together was the best one of Freddy’s life, but nothing’s made sense since. Laura Dean is popular, funny, and SO CUTE … but she can be really thoughtless, even mean. Their on-again, off-again relationship has Freddy’s head spinning — and Freddy’s friends can’t understand why she keeps going back.

When Freddy consults the services of a local mystic, the mysterious Seek-Her, she isn’t thrilled with the advice she receives. But something’s got to give: Freddy’s heart is breaking in slow motion, and she may be about to lose her very best friend as well as her last shred of self-respect. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnist Anna Vice, to help her through being a teenager in love.

Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.

Goodreads

The artwork in Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is absolutely gorgeous; that is what kept me reading a story that I’m incredibly glad exists, but definitely feels like the kind of YA meant for high school students. It’s a story of young love, understanding when relationships are toxic, and learning not to neglect your friends even though you’re in love.

Everything about Freddy is understandable, but Laura Dean’s red flags are so numerous and unthinkingly cruel that I just wanted to shake her until she realized she was better than this relationship of convenience. I was similarly annoyed by the very dramatic “You’re way too young for me; I’m 18 and you’re 17!” that is repeated. What??

The highlight of this story is undoubtedly the crumbling friendship between Freddy and Doodle. The ways in which they miss each other’s bids for attention and care is heartbreaking and relatable. I was excited for the D&D shout out in this plot thread, but whoops, that turned out not so great.

I might be underselling this book, because as I’m thinking about it, there is a lot of really wonderful stories here about abortion, queer progress, messy emotions, and no easy answers. And Freddy’s friend group is pretty much all varieties of queer, which is an accuracy that is great to see. You tell me – have you read Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me? What did you think?

Who Do I Recommend This Book To?

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is a great book to give to a queer teenager; bonus points if you use the book to actually discuss the themes within.

Check out our Queer Lil Library for more book recommendations and reviews!

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