I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Slip by Marika McCoola
Published by Workman Publishing Company on June 7, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / LGBTQ, Young Adult Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Romance
Format: ARC, Paperback
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bookshop
From Eisner-Award nominated writer Marika McCoola and debut artist Aatmaja Pandya, an emotional coming-of-age graphic novel for fans of Bloom and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.
Right before Jade is about to leave for a summer art intensive, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. How is Jade supposed to focus on herself right now?
But at the Art Farm, Jade has artistic opportunities she’s been waiting for her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade pours herself into making ceramic monsters that vent her stress and insecurities, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens: they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her, including the scariest of them all—if Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she leaving Phoebe behind?
Slip by Marika McCoola is a graphic novel about a teenage artist named Jade and her grief over her best friend’s attempted suicide. Most of the novel focuses on Jade’s struggle with her feelings over what her friend Phoebe did and that the two are separated because Phoebe is a treatment program. She works out her frustration through her sculptures at a summer art camp.
Struggling with grief
This book explores the grief of those who are affected by suicide and suicidal attempts. Jade struggles with her thinking about whether she was a good friend before Phoebe made the attempt. She also struggles with what kind of friend should be now to Phoebe in the aftermath.
There are some relationships that are introduced with various other artists in the summer camp, but Jade mostly struggles on her own with her thoughts. I found this a little problematic because essentially none of the relationships are flushed out or have depth. This is illustrated by the potential romantic relationship with another girl that gets frustrated by Jade’s standoffishness.
In a way this mirrors the self-isolation that a teen who isn’t ready to talk about a traumatic experience would feel and act in real life. The relationships don’t grow because Jade doesn’t allow space for them to grow. She doesn’t get adult support because she doesn’t tell anyone what she is going through. The main focus is on Jade and how she works through her pain and emotions through her art, of which…often has a mind of its own.
The illustrations were awesome. I tend to like more color rather than monochromatic. However, the use of red to indicate intensity of Jade’s emotions and struggle was well done.
Dealing with the impact of suicide
I think Slip by Marika McCoola is an important book to have on school library shelves because of the topic. It will strike up some good conversations, but I also hope it leads young adults who read it to seek help if they are experiencing the type of grief that Jade did.
Trigger Warning: Attempted suicide
Suicide Hotline: Dial 988. Learn more at https://988lifeline.org/
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