Graphic Novel Review: All Together Now by Hope Larson

All Together Now by Hope Larson. FSG, 2020. 9780374313654. 192pp including some great pages on how Larson makes comics at the back.

Larson’s Salamander Dream is one of my favorite graphic novels, and she’s deservedly well-known for her graphic adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.

This is a followup to All Summer Long, which made a number of graphic novel and best lists for 2018 and 2019. It is the continuing story of L.A.-based middle school guitarist Bina. She and her friend Darcy find a drummer for their band, changing everything and maybe leading to the end of their friendship. Bina is also romantically interested in her sporty best friend Austin even though he has a girlfriend (at least at the beginning of the book). There’s a lot of awkwardness, including Bina going to a high school party with Austin’s sister, and a moment where Bina goes berserk (for good cause). Mostly it’s about friendship and figuring out what love means. (There’s a great conversation about relationships with both guys and girls with Austin’s sister, too.) Larson’s art makes the moments when Bina is really into her music sing, and also shows how hard it is to be creative on a schedule.

In a month where I’ve had a hard time finishing anything, I read this book in one sitting without putting it down. And I will probably read it again before the month is through.


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