MINI REVIEWS!! Like regular book reviews except tinier and cuter. Today’s topic is books by Tillie Walden (two of them, On a Sunbeam and Spinning) and I am SO excited about both of these beautiful books!
Two timelines. Second chances. One love.
A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together.
Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love—only to learn the pain of loss.
With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.
On a Sunbeam is an immersive and breathtakingly beautiful science fiction story.
Here’s Why I Loved It:
1. The World
Tillie Walden has created a setting unlike any space setting I’ve ever known: it’s unusual and fascinating and I loved learning about how it works.
2. The Dual Timelines
On a Sunbeam is comprised of two different alternating narratives, one following the main character, Mia, during her high school years at a boarding school, and one about her when she’s older and working with a crew that restores old buildings. It was so interesting to see these two narratives converge and I just generally loved the way Tillie Walden told this story.
3. The Characters
All of the characters were so sweet and I loved the family-like relationship Mia grew to have with her team. All of her friends were distinct and awesome in their own ways! Also shoutout to the relationship between Mia and her love interest, Grace, because they’re adorable!
4. The Artwork
Tillie Walden is an incredible artist. This whole book was so beautiful, and I especially loved how the author used different color schemes to mirror the two different timelines. I thought that was so smart!
5. The Diversity
This book is SO diverse. I think the majority of the cast is lgbtq+, including a nonbinary character and a bunch of sapphic characters (including the mc), and there are a multiple poc characters as well.
The only negative to On a Sunbeam for me is that I was a bit confused at the beginning and it did take me a little while to figure out what was going on with the world and the plot, but once I did, I couldn’t put this book down. Highly recommend!
Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden’s powerful 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. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But over time, 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 figure skating team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. It all led to one question: What was the point? The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion–and she finally needed to find her own voice.
Just like On a Sunbeam, Spinning is absolutely stunning. Walden’s graphic memoir is raw, emotional, and beautifully drawn.
Here’s Why I Loved It:
1. The Artwork
Again, I was blown away by how beautiful Tillie Walden’s art is.
I loved that ice skating was such a prominent part of Spinning. I have always loved sports books, and I felt that I could especially relate to Tillie’s struggles with the pressure and intensity of her sport—I am not a skater, but I used to do gymnastics, which I think has some similarities to skating as far as how much the sports impact your life. Though I did not feel as negatively about gymnastics as Tillie does about skating, I really enjoyed reading about sports and how skating affected Tillie.
3. The Mood
If I had to characterize this book in one word, I would probably use melancholy. Walden did such a great job of portraying this mood through her art and her writing, and everything felt so real. Obviously it was real, because it’s a memoir and it actually happened, but I thought the author did an excellent job of bringing the pages to life!
4. The Author’s Note
Okay, so this is a little weird, but I really liked the author’s note in the back of Spinning. (I am absolutely the kind of person who always reads the author’s note.) I really liked how the writer talked about how her goal with the book was to tell a story rather than analyze her whole life. You could tell that she was still processing some things when writing this book, which made Spinning feel so authentically human.
All in all, I really enjoyed Spinning! I also want to point out before I wrap up that this book has lesbian rep (#ownvoices of course, since it’s a memoir).
I really loved both of these graphic novels, and I hope I’ve convinced you to pick them up if you haven’t already! If you have read them, or if you’re excited to, please feel free to chat with me in the comments!