Spinning

Tillie Walden, 1996-

Book - 2017

Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden's powerful graphic memoir 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 w...oke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But 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 team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice.

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Subjects
Genres
Graphic novels
Autobiographical comics
Autobiographies
Published
New York : First Second [2017]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
Chiefly illustrations.
Physical Description
395 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
ISBN
9781626729407
1626729409
9781626727724
1626727724
Main Author
Tillie Walden, 1996- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Award-winning Walden's first book-length work traces her childhood spent in the competitive figure-skating world, and although most of her memoir happens in skating rinks or at competitions, that element ultimately becomes the backdrop for a deeper story about her coming out and coming-of-age. In delicate, evocative artwork, rendered exclusively in purple with yellow highlights, Walden relates the struggles of moving to a new city in middle school, dealing with a particularly cruel bully, feeling scared to be open about her homosexuality, and so on, all while gradually becoming disillusioned with skating. She uses negative space to great effect, elegantly depicting her loneliness and isolation while simultaneously emphasizing how deeply she feels unable to speak up for herself. Subtle hints of her burgeoning interest in art, depicted in small, fine-lined doodles encroaching on the edges of panels and pages, are a tantalizing glimpse into what readers know she'll become. All these feelings play out compellingly on the ice, and chapter-heading descriptions of skating moves seem to hint at Walden's larger emotional development. The overall effect is quiet and lyrical—there aren't many huge epiphanies, and conflicts disappear rather quickly—but Walden's cumulative growth and courage to speak up for what she actually wants are unmistakable and deeply satisfying. A stirring, gorgeously illustrated story of finding the strength to follow one's own path. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In an elegant, contemplative, and somber graphic memoir, Walden (The End of Summer) immerses readers in an adolescence dominated by competitive figure skating. The story stretches over several years, during which time Walden vacillates between embracing the routine of early morning practices and the rush of competition, and a near-constant feeling of otherness, due in large part to her attraction to girls, which she hides from her family and peers. "It wasn't the thrill or freedom I felt that I remember," she notes after making a romantic connection with a friend. "It was the fear." Chapters open with illustrations of spins and jumps, the movements delicately mapped, paired with commentary that, at times, gives insight into Walden's personal life; of the frustrating axel, she writes, "As I would turn to go into it I would wish and hope with everything I had that this time it would work." A palette of deep purple, splashed with yellow, underscores the loneliness that permeates Walden's story, and her careful attention to facial expressions and body language makes readers intimately aware of what she is feeling. A haunting and resonant coming-of-age story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Sept.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 6 Up—A graphic memoir about competitive ice skating, growing up, and coming out. Walden spent much of her youth on the ice, at practices and competitions, and in locker rooms among friends, frenemies, and competitors. In this deeply personal reflection, the author/illustrator is unflinching in her examination of what drove her passion for the sport, the embarrassments and experiences that marked pivotal moments in her development, and how she eventually came out to family and friends as a young teen. The art is economical, with a simple indigo and white palette with very occasional splashes of yellow, lending the book an appropriately cold tone; readers will shiver with empathy as Walden steps onto the rink in the early morning before the sun rises. While her drive and commitment to being the best athlete is evident (at one point, she describes sleeping in her practice clothes on top of her blankets, not allowing herself to get warm so that the early morning transition would be easier), the details about some of her relationships are held at arm's length and only hinted at, most notably the strained relationship with her mother. A scene in which a male tutor sexually harasses Walden and attempts a physical assault is affecting and may spark deeper discussion. Her first romantic relationship is both tender and heartbreaking. VERDICT An honest and intimate coming-of-age story that will be appreciated by tweens and young teens, especially those in competitive sports.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A graphic memoir recounts the years Walden spent competitively figure skating, before her developing love of art and first girlfriend causes her to question the insular world of figure skating.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Unable to conceive of a life beyond her competitive training regimen, a teen figure skater begins to question her unrelenting lifestyle in the wake of a growing passion for art and a first love with a new girlfriend. By the award-winning creator of I Love This Part. Simultaneous.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A powerful coming-of-age graphic memoir about coming-of-age, coming out, and competitive figure skating,

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Tillie Walden's Eisner Award winning 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. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But 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 team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion—and she finally needed to find her own voice.This title has Common Core connections.A New York City Public Library Notable Best Book for TeensA Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017A 2018 YALSA Great Graphic NovelA 2017 Booklist Youth Editors' Choice