Book Review: Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

I generally try to read books before I see the movies they are based on, and while this doesn’t always extend to graphic novels (I’m looking at you, Avengers and X-Men) I did with this one. And the book was definitely better. Blue is the Warmest Color - Julie MarohBlue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Published: September 3rd 2013 by Arsenal Pulp Press (English language version—first published in French in 2010)

Source: local library

Synopsis (Goodreads): Originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.

First published in French by Belgium’s Glénat, the book has won several awards, including the Audience Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, Europe’s largest. The film Blue Is the Warmest Colorwon the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

My thoughts: I love me a tragic love story, so when this book opened with Emma collecting the diaries of her lost love, Clementine, I was already hooked. What kept me turning the pages was the dreamy quality of the illustration and the addictive, seductive drama of Emma and Clementine’s relationship.

The panels are mostly done in shades of grey, and the vivid blues punctuating the story are evocative and memorable. It reads like a very sexy dream feels. Maroh manages to capture those conflicted feelings of first love and a character who is unsure of her own identity.

While not appropriate for a young adult collection, this is a graphic novel a lot of teens would enjoy, and not just for the sexy images. The story is one of coming out, of finding love, and of finding oneself.

Second opinions:

Indiscriminate Critic: “After reading the novel for myself, one thing I can say is that it’s definitely worth the buzz. Julie Maroh is an exceptionally talented artist, and her ability to convey emotional tension and sexual desire is uncanny. ”

Fandom Post: “The real tragedy of this love story is that the small acts of pain the people inflict on each other is the result of inner pain they cannot deal with. Many of these people cannot accept themselves for whom they are, and because of that cannot accept others as well.”

Zac @ Having Said That: “The book is full of moments of discovery, tenderness and love and the film embraces and expands on these emotions at length.”

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