Author: Tegan Quin & Sara Quinn (words) and Tillie Walden (pictures)
Publish Date: May 2023
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (imprint of MacMillan Publishing
Catalog ID: ISBN: 978-0374313029
Author website: https://teganandsara.com/
By Margaux Roca
Tegan and Sara Junior High by Tegan and Sara Quinn and illustrated by Tillie Walden is an inspirational memoir about twin sisters, Tegan and Sara’s first year of junior high in their new school in Canada. After leaving their best friend Faiza behind and moving in with their mother and stepfather, the sisters have to navigate through the early stages of adolescence in a new environment. The story follows their journey as they discover themselves and learn to face the complications that come with becoming more independent.
An interesting aspect of this comic is the two different perspectives that the reader discovers as the main characters are identical twins. Every important moment that occurs throughout the story is narrated in a different way based on the girls’ different personalities. These parallel storylines are reflected at the end of each chapter by a series of drawings where their individual thoughts are portrayed in different colors. As the story progresses, their differences become more prominent, including how they experience emotions, despite being twin sisters.
The writing tackles challenging subjects such as first periods, romantic attraction, and the discovery of sexual orientation and identity. These topics are presented in a realistic light with positivity and occasional humour which creates a safe space for readers who may relate and identify with the characters. It raises awareness of these sometimes-taboo subjects that are not found in many comics.
The overall artistic style by Tillie Walden is engaging, with a cartoonish approach to character designs. The variety of panel sizes are separated by rough edges instead of lines for each scene which gives the impression of looking through a hole in the wall and experiencing the girls’ lives from an outsider’s point of view, but still being present alongside them. This creates a more personal experience and is a unique way of allowing readers to feel touched by the events of the twins’ lives as well. Furthermore, the most personal element of the book is the personalised drawings attributed to the twins at the end of each chapter. It adds much more to the storyline as it can depict the girl’s feelings more vividly and with no filter.
While relating to the characters and going through the same obstacles they face throughout the comic can enhance your reading experience, anyone can enjoy this book. It is illustrated and written in a beautiful and captivating way that lets you sympathise with the girls and appreciate their growth and gradual understanding of the world around them. This is a perfect book for young adolescents looking for their place in the world and for relatable and positive ways to deal with negative emotions that they may be experiencing.