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ARE YOU LISTENING? by Tillie Walden


by Tillie Walden ; illustrated by Tillie Walden

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-20756-2
Publisher: First Second

Two women on the run from their pasts travel across west Texas.

Eighteen-year-old Bea runs away from home without a plan except escaping—until she crosses paths with 27-year-old Lou at a gas station on the way out of town. They share the same need to get away from all the people they know. Together, they embark on a road trip to Lou’s great-aunt’s house in San Angelo and then to return a lost cat to a mysterious town called West. However, the dark and foreboding Office of Road Inquiry pursues them in search of the cat in their possession. Walden (On a Sunbeam, 2018, etc.) crafts a story rich in metaphor about two gay women on a journey through trauma and grief. The unpredictable, shifting landscape in which lakes appear and roads change course encapsulates the treacherous and nonlinear path of healing. Complex panel layouts in dark tones and moody reds often bleed together, and stretches of silent art fit the heaviness of the tone. Background characters whose eyes are hidden add to the rising sense of anxiety throughout the story. In the midst of this intense atmosphere, Lou and Bea develop a moving bond and deep trust that allow Bea to open up to Lou. The resolution offers hope that both characters will continue to heal. Characters appear to be white.

A tsunami of emotions—sharp and heavy.

(Graphic novel. 14-adult)