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Annotation: Two teenaged outsiders establish an uneasy truce in this visually arresting, one-of-a-kind collage-style novel.
Catalog Number: #165325
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Sylvestre, Daniel,
Pages: 260 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-7730-6099-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-7730-6099-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018297443
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
The premise is familiar: two outcast teens find strength, and possibly love, in each other. Yet Gingras' creative presentation of their story notebook of letters, scribbles, and collage kes it unique. In the safety of the book's pages, 15-year-old Ophelia writes to Jeanne D'Amour, an author who visited her class. A victim of sexual assault and parental neglect, Ophelia copes through art and these unsent letters: "But when you're on the verge of drowning, it's imperative to find some kind of wreckage . . . to grab hold of." One day, she creates an artist's workshop in an abandoned warehouse only to discover that Ulysses, the fat boy in her class, also finds refuge there. As he and Ophelia get to know one another, their tentative friendship gives way to a deeper connection. First sex is honestly, fumblingly portrayed, and though their relationship gives them confidence, it does not define them. In her introspective sketchbook of a novel, Gingras quietly exposes Ophelia's and Ulysses' vulnerabilities while depicting their journey to becoming more comfortable in their own skins.
Horn Book
Struggling with rejection at school and with her single mother's addiction, Ophelia is inspired when a visiting author gives her a blank notebook. Ophelia, a graffiti artist, claims an abandoned building for her art, which leads to friendship with fellow outsider Ulysses. Abstract collages and line drawings are effectively layered into a poetic text (translated from the French), creating a vivid representation of Ophelia's artistic journey.
Kirkus Reviews
In this text-and-graphic mashup, a gift from a novelist on a school visit opens up a world of possibilities for Ophelia, a white Quebec teen.Sensing that 10th-grader Ophelia is troubled, the writer gives her a blank notebook which lights a fire inside her. In it, Ophelia charts her rocky course from emotional isolation toward self-acceptance and friendship. Her year in foster care at age 8 and molestation two years later by her single mother's boyfriend have eroded the trust between mother and daughter. Ophelia dresses in body-disguising layers, works at a dollar store, occasionally shoplifts, and sneaks out at night, tagging walls with her signature broken-heart graffiti. Discovering a derelict building, she claims it as her creative refuge only to learn that an overweight classmate, another social outcast, has laid claim to it, retreating there to dream of journeying around the world. Reluctantly dividing the space, each makes tentative forays into the other's world. As they find the courage to look beyond their own pain, they befriend two lesbian classmates and recognize that the hijab-wearing Muslim girls at school are experiencing rejection too. Text and art mesh subtly, the latter ranging from semi-abstract to finely detailed collages, emphatic and powerful. Words scrawled in and over the art are in the original French, their meaning rewarding readers' investigation but not essential for appreciating their impact.A spare, emotionally evocative coming-of-age journey. (Fiction. 12-15)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (4/1/18)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 9-12

Actually, there's something I have to tell you. Last spring, I went with the other grade nine classes to see a Shakespeare play. Even if I didn't really get the whole story and all its battles, violence, cries and tragic destinies, from the very start I liked the sad prince and his fiancée, driven crazy by love, who drowned herself in the river. Her name was Ophelia, an incredibly gentle name, don't you think? She looked as though she were asleep on the riverbed, so beautiful in her wet gown clinging to her body and her hair like golden seaweed. Ever since, I've taken her name in secret. You're the first to know.

Excerpted from Ophelia by Charlotte Gingras
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Two teenaged outsiders establish an uneasy truce in this visually arresting, one-of-a-kind collage-style novel. Illustrations.

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