CBR15Bingo: Bodies, Bodies (physically growing up, stressing about getting your period, wanting to differentiate yourself when you’re an identical twin — the first chapter is actually called “Teenage Bodies.”)
I read this without ever having listened to any Tegan and Sara music and loved it, so this is clearly a winner. I am a huge Tillie Walden fan, which is why I picked this up in the first place, and I’m really glad I did. I think this book does a great job of being a fictionalized memoir and translating the actual Tegan and Sara’s experiences growing up in the 90s to a more contemporary audience. They manage to do this by having the story take place in the present day; I think the emotional core rings very true and the experiences the current day twins go through clearly echo their real lives in the past (falling in love with music for the first time, forming a band, realizing they’re queer). As someone who didn’t know much about them beyond that they’re musicians and lesbians, that didn’t take anything away from the reading experience for me. I’m sure someone who is an actual fan might notice things that delight them, but this is clearly intended for a junior high audience so wasn’t set up with an adult fan in mind.
The book follows Tegan and Sara as they start Junior High together. They have to have classes separately, make new friends, and come to terms with growing up. This book is such a gem in terms of realistically capturing what it’s like to be a young teen, enter a new school, and simultaneously be going through the upheaval of puberty. The emotions are very truthfully conveyed and Walden’s art is adept at this as always. She is such an amazing artist and every book she does is a gift. I love the color palette here and how she differentiates the twins by color while making purple the dominant tone. It just reads so clearly and effectively. The story arcs of them making different friends, coming to realizations about sexuality, and fighting with each other all work together without becoming confusing and overwhelming. The friendship drama especially was very realistic and I remember how intense those emotions were, which Walden does a great job of showing. All in all, this is such a great book and I highly recommend it to any young teens (12-14 ish) or adults who love graphic novels. It’s a real masterclass in the power of art to convey emotion and story.
Warnings for: mean behavior/bullying, someone insulting their music by calling it gay, a physical altercation (shoving)