🥳 Happy Pub Day to Crushing! 🥳
Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for inviting me to be on the blog tour and for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: 11 January 2022
Genre: Graphic Novel, Romance
She’s lonely and searching for a connection. He’s lonely and afraid to reach out.
Life in the big city means being surrounded by connections—making them, missing them, and longing for them. But is finding someone else really the answer to their problems?
Crushing, the stunning debut graphic novel from Sophie Burrows, is a story told in silence; a story without words but bursting with meaning; a story about loneliness and love.
Achingly beautiful, quietly defiant, and full of subtle wit and wisdom, Crushing is a unique meditation on the human condition in the twenty-first century, and a timely examination of young adult life in an age of isolation.
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Sophie Burrows is an award winning British writer, illustrator and comics creator. Inspired by the everyday, she loves to tell stories which explore themes of human behaviour, mental health and relationships. In 2019 she graduated from the MA in Children’s Book Illustration course at Cambridge School of Art, and subsequently won Student Illustrator of the Year 2019 at the V&A Illustration Awards.
Her first picture book as writer/illustrator, Ig Pig and Og Frog! was released in 2020, and her debut graphic novel, Crushing , publishes in 2021. Alongside her illustration, Sophie is also an associate lecturer and teaches on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.
Sophie lives and works in London with her partner Daniel. Besides drawing, she also loves to cook, and enjoys being creative in the kitchen. She is an avid music lover, and often spends her spare time watching live music and going to festivals.
TL;DR: Crushing is a graphic novel that I think will resonate with many of us because we’ve all felt loneliness and do feel lonely, especially since the pandemic. The artwork was simple, beautiful and vibrant with pops of red amidst the black and white, and the style complemented the quietness of the story very well. There was no plot but we follow the lives of our two protagonists as they navigate their everyday situations, searching for opportunities and connections, and it was simply so relatable. There may not be a happy ever after just yet but it’s certainly a hopeful new beginning! 🥰
This was different to any graphic novel that I’ve read before because it’s a silent story. There’s no dialogue from our protagonists but the artwork does a brilliant job of conveying their story so that no words are needed. The artwork itself is not usually my favourite style but it was a perfect fit for this; it reminded me of the same style used in the classic The Snowman children’s book, which added just a touch of nostalgia to this story that I really enjoyed! I really liked the way red was the only colour used to highlight our protagonists and other key items, people, and events that stood out amongst the hectic blur of the surrounding crowds.
Crushing explores the feeling of loneliness and the yearning for connection. We follow the stories of two young people from the same neighbourhood who crave connection and are searching for companionship. We see them at work, going about their everyday routine, all while experiencing the feeling of being alone despite being surrounded by crowds of people. It’s a very simple premise but it was so easy to put myself in their shoes, despite living completely different lives, because I think we’ve all been there and that’s what makes this story so relatable. In a way, I found it comforting because it always seems like we’re so alone in whatever we feel and yet, as this story shows us, others are probably feeling the same loneliness and longing for connection as we do, we just don’t know it.
Despite the somewhat melancholy perspective of our characters at the start, I loved the way that slowly changes for them as the story progresses. It was heartwarming to see them find joy doing things by themselves and for themselves, but also experiencing unexpected kindnesses in uncertain situations. As cheesy as it sounds, it gave me this feeling like “everything is going to be okay and even if it’s not perfect, you’ll be alright” and it was just… really nice! ☺️ When our protagonists finally have their first real interaction at the end, it put a huge smile on my face. Although I do wish that we got to see them interact for longer and it wasn’t the perfect “happy ever after” moment, it was still a hopeful new beginning and sometimes that’s just enough!
Have you read Crushing or is it on your TBR?