I loved everything about reading The Greatest Thing!
I had the pleasure of reading this early and I honestly haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Especially with the release of Heartstopper as a TV series on Netflix last week…it made me realise The Greatest Thing is perfect to fill any Heartstopper-shaped-holes left in your life 🥺💛 It hits that perfect balance of Lots Of Teen Angst And Feels and also Friendship and Warmth and Comfort. I just really loved reading this. And the art is so emotive and lovely! I especially loved the zines the teens make, and how magical and yearning they were.
It reads as a bit of a slice of life story and is absolutely packed full of emotions. It takes a very real, very raw look, at depression and eating disorders, as we follow Winifred as she struggles with high school and struggles just being a person. Being a teen is just hard sometimes, and she retreats into her comics so hard. When the story starts, Winifred feels friendless and isolated…and then she meets April and Oscar and the three of them just CLICK.
Winnie was easy to love; her pains felt so real and her anxieties and heavy depression were palpable. Also loved her small smiles, her moments of feeling so loved and wanted from her friends too. I also adored April and Oscar. April is like the golden retriever of the group and questioning gender, and Oscar is a total bisexual softie, figuring things out too. They’re all silly and serious together, hurting each other and helping each other. Just messy queer kids doing their best!!
The ending felt super open though, and a big part of me hopes there is a sequel. From the author’s note, I gather a lot of it is very autobiographical — and we know real life doesn’t often come in tidy packages with lots of closure in endings so 😂👌🏻 I will accept if this is the only volume.
A heartfelt and bittersweet story about growing up and finding a way to fit your own skin when the world seems too big and difficult and harsh.
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy!
Title: The Greatest Thing
Author: Sarah Winifred Searle
Date Published: May, 2022
Genre: YA Contemporary Graphic Novel
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Purchase: Book Depository, Blackwells, Dymocks
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This tender YA comic is perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Drama and Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham’s Real Friends who are ready to graduate to their first teen graphic novel.
It’s the first day of sophomore year, and now that Winifred’s two best (and only) friends have transferred to a private school, she must navigate high school on her own.
But she isn’t alone for long. In art class, she meets two offbeat students, Oscar and April. The three bond through clandestine sleepovers, thrift store shopping, and zine publishing. Winifred is finally breaking out of her shell, but there’s one secret she can’t bear to admit to April and Oscar, or even to herself—and this lie is threatening to destroy her newfound friendships.
With breathtaking art and honest storytelling, rising star Sarah Winifred Searle delivers a heartfelt story about love, friendship, and self-acceptance.
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