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Spinning Paperback – September 12, 2017
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“Intimate and compelling. A quiet powerhouse of a memoir.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“An elegant, contemplative, and somber graphic memoir . . . A haunting and resonant coming-of-age story.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Quiet and lyrical . . . and deeply satisfying. A stirring, gorgeously illustrated story of finding the strength to follow one’s own path.” ―Booklist, starred review
“An honest and intimate coming-of-age story that will be appreciated by tweens and young teens, especially those in competitive sports.” ―School Library Journal
“This is a beautifully told story that will resonate with anyone who played an instrument, or did gymnastics, or got signed up for skating: these things weren't always what we wanted to do or cared about, but they gave us some focus when everything else was mystery and chaos.” ―Lucy Knisley, New York Times bestselling author of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
“Spinning is spare yet intimate, painfully honest, and oh-so-real.” ―Malinda Lo, three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist author of Ash and Adaptation
“This beautiful story about sorrow, growth, and triumph will resonate in every reader’s heart.” ―Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times–bestselling author and two-time National Book Award finalist
“Gorgeous and honest.” ―Faith Erin Hicks, award-winning author of The Nameless City
About the Author
Tillie Walden is a cartoonist and illustrator from Austin, Texas. Born in 1996, she is a recent graduate from the Center for Cartoon Studies, a comics school in Vermont. Over the course of her time at CCS she published three books with the London based Avery Hill Publishing. She has already received an Eisner Award nomination and two Ignatz Awards for her early works. When she is not drawing comics, Tillie can be found walking and listening to audiobooks or asleep with a cat. She also enjoys studying architecture and tries to incorporate that passion into her comics. Spinning is her first long form autobiographical work.
Top customer reviews
For ten years skating was Tillie's entire world as she spent hours practicing with her synchronized skate team and for her individual figure skating certifications and competitions. Life on the rink was meant to be a break from the real world with bullies, school, and the pressures of her family.
When Tillie's family moves to Texas all of that starts to change. At her new school Tillie feeds her growing interest in art and starts a fledgling relationship with her first girlfriend. As her world gets bigger Tillie struggles with how to reconcile to herself and her family and friends that it's time for her to move on in Spinning (2017) by Tillie Walden.
In guise of a book about competitive figure skating, Walden offers a subtle graphic novel memoir about growing up and speaking out. During the sometimes turbulent end to her time as a skater Walden also discovers how to stand up for herself and how to come out to her friends and family. While not everything works out for Tillie and many paths are still uncharted, Spinning is an ultimately hopeful story of new choices and new beginnings.
Walden's artwork, colored with a purple hue as seen on the cover, is full of motion and pathos as she makes excellent use of the comic panel structure to move the story forward while highlighting smaller moments in the narrative.
Spinning is an excellent graphic novel sure to endear itself to any readers who have ever struggled not just to find their next path but also how to explain that choice to others.
I identified strongly with Tillie’s experiences skating as both an individual and in a team – I was a competitive swimmer all the way through college. The isolation of competition, the gossip and enforced together-ness of the team all resonated. Pair that with Tillie’s scholastic struggles, her forays in youthful friendship, burgeoning artistic talent, and her relationship with her first girlfriend, and the book is brimming with all of the bits and pieces of life that seem to come at you 100mph during the teenage years. It’s not easy, of course, and Tillie’s experiences with bullies and worse are detailed as well. Tillie has written and illustrated not only her life from memory, but also a highly relatable book for teens and young women everywhere. It’s honest and beautiful and poignant and sad and all of the things that life is while you’re living it. I loved it.
Recommended for: young women ages 11 and up, especially introverts, artists, and those into sports.