Tina has a slight problem. While she enjoys fooling around with her occasional boyfriend, James, whenever he arrives home from school, she discovers she is more drawn to her guitar teacher Evan. To complicate things, Evan seems to feel the same way back, despite his own attachment to a girlfriend, conveniently (or not so) in Germany for a few weeks. Tina’s friends, if you can call them that, do little to help her figure out her situation, and instead gossip behind her back about her issues and berate her for indecision. Welcome to the story of a girl, as the back of the book announces. Hailed as a teen Sex and the City, Leela Corman’s odyssey is a mellow and truthful look at the awkward entanglements, confusing feelings, and sense of obligation that often make up relationships. The sex here is fairly graphic, but far from sensational, and the simple art, all sharp shadows and strong lines, creates just enough of a picture to get the scene across. The chain of events Tina journeys through is vital to getting across the pressures girls feel externally as well as put upon themselves. Silence is almost a character in the book — we aren’t privy to Tina’s thoughts, and a great deal of the story follows her in contemplation through the streets and subways of New York. This is the kind of story that feels especially true — even if you don’t live in such a city, or tackle relationships the same way, you can relate to the often painful back and forth of trying to figure out your own head.

Subway Series
ISBN: 9781891867149
by Leela Corman
Alternative Comics 2002

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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