Roaming by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

It’s Spring Break 2009, and college freshman besties Dani and Zoe have made plans to meet up in New York City. Dani invites new friend Fiona along, and at first all is well. But if two is company, then three’s a crowd and soon Fiona’s worldly cynicism and snarky impatience begins to drive a wedge between Dani and Zoe. Especially after a budding flirtation between Zoe and Fiona blossoms into something more. Can this friendship be saved? Or is this newly formed threesome doomed to die on the vine? The Tamaki cousins have done it again in terms of subtly and sensitively bringing a very specific moment of growing up to universal life. As they navigate famous NYC landmarks and neighborhoods, Dani, Fiona and Zoe wrestle with how they are viewed and how they are viewing themselves, with those viewpoints changing from page to page, from conversation to conversation. So many familiar and charmingly awkward moments around identity, class and gender play out that between the triad that you won’t be able to stop smiling and nodding in recognition. As someone who lived in NYC from 1997-2021, I remember the city of 2009 very well, from the shopping at St. Marks to the giant Virgin sign in Times Square. It is all faithfully and beautifully replicated in this graphic novel–in three-color, double-paged spreads of lilac, cream and black. I miss that version of NYC, and deeply appreciated being transported back. And whether you are a rock solid New Yorker, or have only done the tourist route, I’m betting you will also be transported by Roaming.

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