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Annotation: This powerful memoir in graphic format captures the author's experiences coming of age, coming out, and coming to terms with leaving the world of figure skating to which she'd devoted her young life.
Catalog Number: #151833
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 395 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-626-72940-9 Perma-Bound: 0-605-99828-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-626-72940-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-99828-5
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2016961586
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In this layered graphic memoir, former competitive figure skater Walden looks back at her childhood. Mostly bluish-purple pencil drawings reflect young Tillie's mood: skating rarely brings her joy, she's bullied, family relationships are strained, she's hiding her homosexuality, she struggles academically, and she's sexually assaulted. Walden's growing interest in art is a recurring theme throughout her memoir; occasional incompletely drawn figures are clearly deliberate.
Kirkus Reviews
Graphic novelist Walden recounts her years coming-of-age as a competitive ice skater.Tillie Walden k
Publishers Weekly
In an elegant, contemplative, and somber graphic memoir, Walden (The End of Summer) immerses readers in an adolescence dominated by competitive figure skating. The story stretches over several years, during which time Walden vacillates between embracing the routine of early morning practices and the rush of competition, and a near-constant feeling of otherness, due in large part to her attraction to girls, which she hides from her family and peers. -It wasn-t the thrill or freedom I felt that I remember,- she notes after making a romantic connection with a friend. -It was the fear.- Chapters open with illustrations of spins and jumps, the movements delicately mapped, paired with commentary that, at times, gives insight into Walden-s personal life; of the frustrating axel, she writes, -As I would turn to go into it I would wish and hope with everything I had that this time it would work.- A palette of deep purple, splashed with yellow, underscores the loneliness that permeates Walden-s story, and her careful attention to facial expressions and body language makes readers intimately aware of what she is feeling. A haunting and resonant coming-of-age story. Ages 14-up. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
Gr 6 UpA graphic memoir about competitive ice skating, growing up, and coming out. Walden spent much of her youth on the ice, at practices and competitions, and in locker rooms among friends, frenemies, and competitors. In this deeply personal reflection, the author/illustrator is unflinching in her examination of what drove her passion for the sport, the embarrassments and experiences that marked pivotal moments in her development, and how she eventually came out to family and friends as a young teen. The art is economical, with a simple indigo and white palette with very occasional splashes of yellow, lending the book an appropriately cold tone; readers will shiver with empathy as Walden steps onto the rink in the early morning before the sun rises. While her drive and commitment to being the best athlete is evident (at one point, she describes sleeping in her practice clothes on top of her blankets, not allowing herself to get warm so that the early morning transition would be easier), the details about some of her relationships are held at arm's length and only hinted at, most notably the strained relationship with her mother. A scene in which a male tutor sexually harasses Walden and attempts a physical assault is affecting and may spark deeper discussion. Her first romantic relationship is both tender and heartbreaking. VERDICT An honest and intimate coming-of-age story that will be appreciated by tweens and young teens, especially those in competitive sports.Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Graphic novelist Walden recounts her years coming-of-age as a competitive ice skater.Tillie Walden knew she was gay since she was 5, which was also when she began ice skating. This memoir recounts the years from when she's 11 to when she reaches her late teens, as her life marches on through fledgling romances, moving halfway across the country, bullying, and various traumas with skating as her only constant. Her story is largely insular, with her family only visible in the periphery, even with regard to her skating. Walden's recollections tend to meander at times, with an almost stream-of-consciousness feel about them; her taciturn introspection mixed with adolescent ennui creates a subdued, yet graceful tone. For a young author (Walden is in her early 20s), she is remarkably adept at identifying the seminal moments of her life and evincing their impacts on her trajectory. Her two-toned art is lovely and spare, utilizing the occasional splash of an accenting color to heighten visual interest. She draws herself as a blonde, bespectacled, white girl, a depiction that brings Harriet Welsch to mind. Walden deems herself "a creator who is happy making a book without all the answers," and while she may not solve any of life's great conundrums, her offering is intimate and compelling. A quiet powerhouse of a memoir. (Graphic memoir. 13-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Award-winning Walden's first book-length work traces her childhood spent in the competitive figure-skating world, and although most of her memoir happens in skating rinks or at competitions, that element ultimately becomes the backdrop for a deeper story about her coming out and coming-of-age. In delicate, evocative artwork, rendered exclusively in purple with yellow highlights, Walden relates the struggles of moving to a new city in middle school, dealing with a particularly cruel bully, feeling scared to be open about her homosexuality, and so on, all while gradually becoming disillusioned with skating. She uses negative space to great effect, elegantly depicting her loneliness and isolation while simultaneously emphasizing how deeply she feels unable to speak up for herself. Subtle hints of her burgeoning interest in art, depicted in small, fine-lined doodles encroaching on the edges of panels and pages, are a tantalizing glimpse into what readers know she'll become. All these feelings play out compellingly on the ice, and chapter-heading descriptions of skating moves seem to hint at Walden's larger emotional development. The overall effect is quiet and lyrical ere aren't many huge epiphanies, and conflicts disappear rather quickly t Walden's cumulative growth and courage to speak up for what she actually wants are unmistakable and deeply satisfying. A stirring, gorgeously illustrated story of finding the strength to follow one's own path.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Figure skating has always been a huge part of Tillie’s life, from private coaching in the early morning hours to practice for the synchronized skating team after school. Yet she has also always had a complicated relationship with this competitive and restrictive sport, feelings that are intensified when her family moves from New Jersey to Texas. In Austin, Tillie must build a new life, but faces even greater difficulties, including relentless bullying and an attempted sexual assault, as well the tremendous challenge of making friends and coming out, having known she was gay since she was very young. Tillie wades through complex emotions, at turns determined or depressed, hopeful or heartbroken, but she also finds her own voice and the strength to realize that, perhaps, figure skating need not be her whole life forever. A remarkable graphic memoir, Spinning explores the author’s teenage years as she struggles to come to terms with how she fits in the world around her. What sets this text apart is the way expressive, artistic renderings and sophisticated comics choices enrich the depth of emotion portrayed in the story. Even seemingly simple visual details contribute substantially to the written portions, combining distinctive art with reflective narration and sparse dialogue to create not only a rounded and dynamic character, but also insights into the experiences of competitive figure skating, coming out, and being a teenager when nothing seems to be the right fit. For readers who enjoy the graphic memoir genre, this story will be an exceptional treat.—Meghann Meeusen.
Word Count: 11,419
Reading Level: 3.1
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.1 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 191881 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.4 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q72332
Lexile: GN410L

Tillie Walden's Eisner Award winning graphic memoir Spinning captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know. It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark. Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again. She was good. She won. And she hated it. For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice. This title has Common Core connections. A New York City Public Library Notable Best Book for Teens A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017 A 2018 YALSA Great Graphic Novel A 2017 Booklist Youth Editors' Choice

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