It certainly isn't written *for* a young audience. Most obviously, Building Stories has no coy modesty about nudity or sex; as important aspects of adult life and relationships, Ware shows his characters' sex lives with anatomical and emotional accuracy. That said, there is nothing exploitative, and it might help teens to a more compassionate understanding of body issues and sexuality. More profoundly, it is a heartbreakingly empathetic book filled with adult characters struggling with the desperate unhappiness (and occassional joy) of everyday life. It seems odd to recommend this book--in which the hopes of youth exist only as dim, painful memories--to someone just beginning high school.
This is a book for adults. The inventiveness of its form is matched by the candor of its gaze and by the bleakness of its outlook. I would not particularly recommend it as a present for most young teens, especially in families uncomfortable with frank treatments and depictions of sex and the body. However, I would recommend reading Building Stories yourself and letting the kid discover it, when ready, on your bookshelf. Above all, it will not deprave: rather, the sadness of the book only makes one yearn to be more mindful, more empathetic, . . . more kind.
I had the same exact question, although I should have read this before I purchased for my own niece. Can anyone recommend another, quality graphic novel that is age appropriate for a "mature & intelligent 13 year old"?
I have a 13 year old daughter and we're both fans of graphic novels. I loved Building Stories! I really don't monitor what she reads, but I decided that it wouldn't be appropriate for her. Plus, I don't think the subject matter would appeal to her. One series that both my daughter and I really enjoyed are the Castle Waiting books. They're also for adults, but are much lighter in tone and subject matter.