Are You Listening? – Tillie Walden

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 2019
Publisher: First Second Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA+, Sexual Assault, Magic Realism, Death


This is an odd graphic novel.

It’s one of those stories you read because they’re fast-paced, mysterious and atmospheric, but you have no actual idea what the hell you’re reading about and what the point of everything is. It takes a while to even understand the link between the two main characters, let alone the plot itself.

And yet I enjoyed it. I finished it in a single sitting. I even managed to feel something for both Bea and Lou, despite knowing very little about both young women. But sometimes you connect with someone or care about someone not because you know them oh so well, but because you see them interact with and talk about the people in their lives and you like what you see and hear.

The story is a mess, God. It’s definitely sinister—this is my first time using this word to describe a book by the way—and the danger that seems to be looming grips you… but it also confuses you because the author doesn’t really take the time to set the scene for the reader and, personally, I had no idea this would be a magical realism book.

So if you want to read this book, read it for the characters, atmosphere and calming illustrations, not the weird storyline and attempt to develop upon important themes because those themes, while discussed to some extent, should have been emphasized more and better.


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