Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 7--10--Lola, a sweetly naive romantic, and Grace, a world-weary curmudgeon, use their best friend powers to investigate love in all its forms in this gorgeously illustrated graphic novel. Originally published in France, this fast-paced read hits all the dramatic notes as Lola and Grace report on their classmates' obsessions, jealousies, crushes, and betrayals--and eventually experience some of the drama for themselves. While the investigation and report read very young, the pair's classmates and relationship drama seem more aligned with high school, making it hard to pin down exactly how old Lola and Grace are. This dissonance, as well as some instances of simplistic or overly blunt dialogue, may be due to the fact that this was originally written in another language. The art is vibrant and will be highly appealing to manga fans. Occasional monochromatic sections and creative page design add much to the impact of this story where the language may falter. Lola is white while Grace is Black, and their peers appear to belong to many different racial and ethnic groups. Those looking for positive LGBTQIA+ representation should search elsewhere, as there is little to be found in this story. VERDICT An additional purchase where tween drama and manga-style art are popular.--Catherine Cote
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Two middle schoolers set out to investigate what love truly means. Lola loves love and wants to understand it better now that she has a crush on a classmate. Her best friend, Grace, whose parents' arguments at home are escalating, has a more cynical view of romance, but she's still willing to help. So the pair go around school, interviewing couples and gathering gossip about who has a crush on whom. For all the nuanced issues this graphic novel, translated from French, attempts to explore--among them slut-shaming and the pain of first love--too many shallow caricatures remain. Nearly all the boy characters come off as unfeeling, selfish jerks whom girls are justified in mistreating when their feelings aren't returned. Scattered storylines mix with contradictory takeaways--the boys are rightfully depicted as sexist for ranking the girls by physical attractiveness, but the girls' decision to reciprocate comes across as justifiable revenge. And even after Lola and Grace realize that Felicity, a beautiful and popular classmate, has hidden depths, Lola still refers to her as a "bimbo." Further, the boys' objectification of Felicity is framed as inevitable rather than something to push back against. Many characters have similar facial designs, giving the artwork a generic look. Lola, Felicity, and most other characters present White; Grace is Black. A superficial and meandering exploration of friendship and love. (Graphic fiction. 10-15) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.