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In Waves Paperback – June 4, 2019

4.7 out of 5 stars 307 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of NPR's Favorite Books of 2019

American Library Association's Alex Award winner 2020

Winner of the 2020 Prix Des Libraires Du Quebec in the Comic category

Finalist for Pop Culture Classroom's 2020 EGL Award, Best in Adult Graphic Literature

"I love this book deeply. AJ writes and draws like a surfer, with such fluidity, grace, and breathability, managing to flow with the most profound love and loss, without it dragging us under. He surrenders to the infinite power and mystery of the ocean to heal the void within . . . this book is a clean line that glides, rolls, and truly moves you. Currently my favorite graphic novel in the universe."
—Craig Thompson, Eisner award winning author of the bestselling Blankets

“Nature is massive: Human forms are diminutive when measured against Dungo’s spare representations of starry skylines, butterflies, mountain ranges and, primarily, the ocean, a striking and dense blue against the panels’ abundant white space. […] On two-page spreads that recall Raymond Pettibon’s mesmerizing large-scale paintings of Hermosa Beach’s wave riders, Dungo is engulfed by marble seawater, its dark swirls more closely resembling snaking wood grain than they do any ocean.”
The Los Angeles Times

"While 'In Waves' packs an emotional punch, Dungo avoids sentimentality and is careful not to miscast the ocean as some soppy metaphor for salvation. The book seems to argue that life and death are what they are, and riding waves is no shortcut to health or happiness—it can, however, provide momentary escape, a temporary shelter, a kind of peace. As Dungo states, loss often leaves us alone 'with only water to comfort.'"
Surfer magazine

“Dungo seamlessly weaves together the tale of his partner’s prolonged battle with cancer with the history of surfing. Part autobiography, part history, In Waves is a beautifully rendered tale of how we move through the world and the impact we have on others.”
—Comic-Con Book Club

“Dungo tells these stories with a sure hand, weaving time lines and seemingly disparate elements into a rich, cohesive tale. The simply drawn illustrations are elegant and economical but deeply powerful . . . A beautiful tribute to first love and living life to its absolute fullest.”
Booklist

“Mixing his love of surfing with the deep pain of his dying partner is a fantastic way to explain how we can process grief in unexpected ways.”
—Book Riot

"Part memoir and part history book, A.J. Dungo brings both together in a tender examination of grief and healing for his debut graphic novel In Waves, finding the connections between the two focuses of his interest and emotion and uncovering how all these part can work to keep him going."
The Beat

“Always interesting when something is at once terribly sad and gorgeously life-affirming. A.J. Dungo’s
In Waves is exactly that. […] It’s heartfelt and it’s heartbreaking. And it’s so beautiful.”
—Jamie Brisick, author of Becoming Westerly

“The muted color scheme alternates aquamarine with seashell peach. Through sweeping two-page spreads showing the texture of waves in decorative, woodlike patterns and through quiet interludes following Kristen’s ultimately tragic story, Dungo presents an evocative tone poem that celebrates the spirit of a young woman who clings to experience as tenaciously as a surfer riding high.”
Publishers Weekly

"Dungo delineates his characters -- their faces often turned away from the reader like Downwind from the Smilin' Jack comic strip -- dwarfed by swirling, striped waves, austere urban landscapes and sometimes even just inky blackness, efficiently conveying the sense of helplessness and sorrow that comes when confronted with terminal illness."
The Comics Journal

“On paper In Waves is a story that weaves together chapters on the origins of surfing with the personal experiences of its author around the sport. In truth, it’s about so much more.”
The Inertia

“The way these stories are woven together helps paint a picture of grief saturating every part of life, of how helpless we feel in its grasp. But it also proffers the ocean as a tonic and a release from the pain of grief – and hints at the ancient instinct of turning wavewards to find solace.”

—Marie Curie charity

“Dungo tells several stories in In Waves that are from different times and places. But in his telling, he was able to connect to the stories of my life, and I believe it will be so for you also, whether you are a surfer or not. And when that happens, I think there is a place where your heart is tender and aches a little with feeling someone else’s pain, and then we feel our own.”
International Examiner

About the Author

AJ Dungo is an illustrator from Florida. He studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and his work has been shown in several group exhibitions in New York and LA. His work strives to create interesting atmospheres and feelings that viewers can have a reaction to. He lives in LA.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Nobrow; Illustrated edition (June 4, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1910620637
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1910620632
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 14 years and up
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 9 and up
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.75 x 1.13 x 8.94 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 307 ratings

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AJ Dungo is an illustrator from Los Angeles. He attended ArtCenter College of Design. He has worked with great people at Nike, Nobrow, The New York Times, Esquire, Narratively, Vissla, Skechers, etc. His work has been recognized by American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, and AD&D.

On off days one can find him surfing shorebreak or loitering in an empty parking lot.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
307 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 17, 2022
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 1, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cried Laughed and Learned
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 5, 2019
Put simply, this book is masterfully done. Between the beautiful illustrations and seemingly effortless transitions in storytelling, AJ, the writer and artist, has created a masterpiece. As an artist and writer myself, I was enamored with both the visual flow and narrative movement throughout the whole book. Once you start reading you won’t be able to put it down. As you take the journey you will be hit with many feelings, happiness, determination, love, warmth and tragedy - that will surely keep you emotionally invested. AJ transitions throughout the book with information about his surfing knowledge and surfing culture, from the surfing greats to the misunderstood, accompanied with his own personal happiness and adversities. Everyone can find something to relate to in this book whether it be the themes portrayed, the awe inspiring color palette and illustrations, the storytelling, the heartwarming/heartbreaking encounters or just the enjoyable facts about surfing knowledge and culture itself. A must read and must buy for anyone.

God Bless Aj Dungo and the story and gift he shared with us. Thank You.
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Top reviews from other countries

J Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful storytelling
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 1, 2019
Client Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars à découvrir absolument
Reviewed in France 🇫🇷 on December 19, 2019
7 people found this helpful
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Claona
5.0 out of 5 stars Très bien
Reviewed in France 🇫🇷 on May 6, 2022
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Diego
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching story, unique style
Reviewed in Italy 🇮🇹 on December 14, 2020
Christophe Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique traitement de la maladie, entre émotion et force de la vie
Reviewed in France 🇫🇷 on October 28, 2019
5 people found this helpful
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