Book - 2017
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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 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.
Publisher: New York :, First Second,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781626729407
Characteristics: 395 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

One of my all time favorite graphic novels, this is the memoir of a former ice skater. It follows her as she deals with moving, high school, her first girlfriend, all while growing up at the rink. As a former ice skater the same age as the author, I was blown away by the accuracy of the details i... Read More »

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Aug 14, 2018

The catching cover of this graphic novel immediately grasped my attention, and I knew from that moment I would get a good read and out of this book. I loved the graphics, each square was nicely thought out, and everything was visually very pleasing, but the real good part was discription of the sensation on ice. I don't figure skate, but I could literally imagine the feeling of doing spins and jumps on ice, which was pretty cool.

JessicaGma Jun 19, 2018

Great artwork, and interesting theme, but I have to agree with the other commenters in that it's a pretty surface skim of her adolescent years and some of the themes could have been examined more. Mind you, it did make me think of being alone in a cold arena, so it was successful in that sense.

TechLibrarian Apr 14, 2018

I picked this up because it had been a while since I read a graphic novel, and I was curious as to what secrets it held--I figured it wouldn't just be about figure skating! Like lots of graphic novels, the format belies a serious storyline: Tillie is a teen coping with some really difficult issues, and having to make some big decisions. It's a quick read and the illustrations carry a lot of momentum. Anyone who participated in sports as a teen may be able to relate to this book, and I'd definitely recommend it to others who like to read graphic novels.

LiztheLibrarian Mar 27, 2018

I think the author is very talented for someone so young and I will definitely keep reading her work. This book was great, I enjoyed it, however like many of the other three star reviews, I was left wanting much more. All these really momentous and sometimes awful things that occurred were presented more as a timeline of events with little exploration beyond the surface of the event happening. Walden is courageous to share these details of her life with us, I just wanted more. Also the author portrays her mother as essentially absent parent and when she does interact with her mother her mother is cruel and cold. Then in the acknowledgements she thanks her mother?! I'm not saying that reconciliation etc can't happen, but her mother is never given any redemption in the gn, but now they are okay? I have soooo many questions!!

Mar 13, 2018

Unnecessary vulgar language. This author lacks class and maturity.

Dec 28, 2017

While it's an incredible feat for an author to publish her fourth book at age 21, there's a lack of insight in a memoir that tries to touch upon multiple themes without allowing them to flourish. The art is quite good throughout, but the pacing is lacking, speeding through moments that needed more time.
What would fix this is more insight and reflection, and that needs time.
Publishing this young is impressive, but I do believe that better works will come when one is more experienced in their field.

KateHillier Dec 05, 2017

Tillie is a figure skater. Her life is dominated by early mornings, group dynamics with both girls and moms, and finding a place in the new skating culture when she moves to Texas at age 12. Tillie isn't happy with skating, with school, with her family life, with being closeted. There's a lot for her to overcome and accept (or not accept as being any form of her fault) and skating is the nexus of it all.

The coming of age story and the art reminds me a lot of This One Summer but that's where the exact similarities end. It's a familiar story in the fact that the reader can relate and you have read versions of this before but it's still a journey worth taking.

vm510 Nov 30, 2017

The art is gorgeous and I am impressed that the author is so young - only 21! This book had an interesting mix of subject matter (lesbian author, competitive ice skating) and had a melancholy, mellow mood which I enjoyed. I felt like a lot of it was surface-level though and even the really monumental life experiences are rarely explored with much detail. I wish there had been a little bit more introspection.

samcmar Oct 18, 2017

I always love sports stories despite not enjoying playing sports. There's something about watching a protagonist grow and transform through the use of sport. However, this is not entirely that story. This graphic memoir looks back on Tillie Walden's relationship to figure skating, understanding her sexuality, and falling in love with art.

First off, I am a big fan of graphic memoirs. They are an interesting medium for telling personal stories, and Walden's is one I think many readers can relate to, particular what it means to fall out of love with someone and in love with something (and someone else). You see throughout the course of the story that Walden's passion for figure skating changes, that it doesn't feel fulfilling. You also see what is keeping her there - her first love, a girl, whom she is over the moon for.

We learn in the story that Walden has known she was gay since she was quite young. We are told that she was afraid of coming out for so long, but because of how young she was it was easier to have girls come over for sleepovers and her parents think nothing of it. She talks about how living in Texas is was scary to be young and gay, especially when society pushes it's agenda of marriage and kids. I felt for Walden, especially when she talked about her fears and how concerned she was if people found out she was gay. The book shows how she was bullied and tormented be it at school or at figure skating practice, and she never truly gets to feel satisfied in her own skin.

Spinning is a gentle story about growing up. Tillie Walden shares such a powerful narrative, and her artwork does an amazing job of showing the intense feeling of what happened in her life. I LOVED the artwork and chromatic colouring in this graphic memoir and I think it just adds such a beautiful layer to such an emotional story. I felt nothing but sympathy for Tillie, but I felt so proud towards the end when things finally came together.


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Jul 29, 2018

sands7447 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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