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Groundwood Books

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Written by Mariko Tamaki • Illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

For students in grades 9 | Published May 21, 2019 | ISBN 9781773063638

Cover of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Regular price $19.95 CAD

304 pages | 8.5 in × 6 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Mariko Tamaki • Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

From This One Summer co-creator Mariko Tamaki comes a hilarious and poignant story of teen heartbreak and friendship.

All Freddy Riley wants is for Laura Dean to stop breaking up with her. The day they got back together was the best one of Freddy’s life, but nothing’s made sense since. Laura Dean is popular, funny and SO CUTE … but she can be really thoughtless, even mean. Their on-again, off-again relationship has Freddy’s head spinning — and Freddy’s friends can’t understand why she keeps going back.

When Freddy consults the services of a local mystic, the mysterious Seek-Her, she isn’t thrilled with the advice she receives. But something’s got to give: Freddy’s heart is breaking in slow motion, and she may be about to lose her very best friend as well as her last shred of self-respect. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnist Anna Vice, to help her through being a teenager in love.

Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.

Key Text Features
rough sketches
character drawings
speech bubbles
process art

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

>Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

About the Author

Mariko Tamaki

Mariko Tamaki is a writer and performer. Her work includes the novella Cover Me, creative non-fiction collections True Lies and Fake ID, comics Emiko Superstar (with Steve Rolston) and Skim (with Jillian Tamaki), and the young adult novel (You) Set Me On Fire. Visit Mariko Tamaki's website: Visit Mariko Tamaki's blog: Follow Mariko Tamaki on Twitter:

Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Awards and Praise

Praise for Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me:

NPR’s Best Books of 2019
Walter Award, Teen Category
Harvey Award for Best Children’s or Young Adult Book
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Lambda Literary Awards, LGBTQ Comics Nominee

“This exploration of toxic relationships and social dynamics at the cusp of adulthood is, like its cast, sharp and dazzling." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Tamaki explores the nuances of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. Valero-O’Connell’s art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink…a triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar." — Kirkus, starred review

“[A] relatable, heart-wrenching, and often funny graphic novel …” — Horn Book, starred review

“In their first collaboration, Tamaki and Valero-O’Connell have developed a sophisticated storytelling dynamic … fresh and exhilarating …” — Quill & Quire, starred review

“It’s a special work, as we might expect from inspirational Canadian creator Mariko Tamaki and the elegant, accessible art style of Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. But the best part is this team showed that a story about a lovelorn queer teenage girl, published in a YA book, can be relatable to anyone who’s ever had a bad relationship… The narrative is framed around Freddy’s letters to an advice columnist and it’ll hit you right in the feels. It ends with a message that (no spoilers) everybody should hear.” — Toronto Star

“By framing the dangers of normalizing toxic relationships within a wider context, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me presents healthy, respectful connection not just as an act of self-preservation but as care for your friends and community, too, doubly so within marginalized groups.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Beautiful and bracing. Tamaki and Valero-O’Connell capture Freddy on the cusp of adulthood and in the throes of perpetual heartache. Good God, I wanted to break up with Laura Dean.” — Rainbow Rowell, Number 1 New York Times–bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Carry On

“Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell expertly capture the awkwardness, tragedy and hope of figuring out love.” — Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese

Praise for This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki:

Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album
Ignatz Award for Best Graphic Novel
Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration
Randolph Caldecott Honor Book
Harvey Award for Best Children’s or Young Adult Book

“The Tamakis have raised the bar for young adult comics.” — Hope Larson, illustrator of A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

“With a light touch, the Tamakis capture the struggle of growing up in a patchwork of summer moments … Wistful, touching, and perfectly bittersweet.” — Booklist, starred review

“Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated — a triumph.” — Kirkus, starred review

Praise for Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki:

Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel
Joe Shuster Award for Writer
New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book

“All in all, Skim offers a startlingly clear and painful view into adolescence for those of us who possess it only as a distant memory. It’s a story that deepens with successive rereadings.” — New York Times

“Skim is a funny, poignant, memorable drama of navigating adolescence.” — Quill & Quire, starred review

“[A] stunningly emotional graphic novel …” — Horn Book, starred review

  • Winner Walter Award, Teen Category, 2020
  • Commended NPR's Best Books, 2019
  • Nominated Lambda Literary Awards, LGBTQ Comics, 2020
  • Short-listed Joe Shuster Award ? Writer, 2020
  • Commended Junior Library Guild Selection, 2019
  • Winner Harvey Award for Best Children's or Young Adult Book, 2019
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me