Girl Stories

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Overview

A graphic novel jam-packed with the joys and humiliations of being a teenage girl

Girl Stories began as a series of comics drawn for the teen girls' Web site gurl.com, where they generated thousands of e-mails from teenage girls (and some boys too).

Expanded into a full-length graphic novel, these tales of one girl's adolescence are hilarious, heartbreaking, and honest. Lauren R. Weinstein tells the horrible truth about growing up, surviving ...

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Overview

A graphic novel jam-packed with the joys and humiliations of being a teenage girl

Girl Stories began as a series of comics drawn for the teen girls' Web site gurl.com, where they generated thousands of e-mails from teenage girls (and some boys too).

Expanded into a full-length graphic novel, these tales of one girl's adolescence are hilarious, heartbreaking, and honest. Lauren R. Weinstein tells the horrible truth about growing up, surviving embarrassing parents, bullies from hell, best friends, boyfriends, breakups, and trying too hard to be cool—and it has never been funnier.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two books' visual humor carries the day, and appeals to readers of all ages. In a starred review of Girl Stories by Lauren R. Weinstein (reviewed in Comics, March 20), PW said, "Weinstein's short, bitterly hilarious stories of teenage-girl angst were a popular feature on gURL.com; this book collects them, along with new material that turns them into a loose narrative of her semiautobiographical protagonist's eighth- and ninth-grade years." (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Pat Trattles
Somewhat autobiographical in nature and compiled largely from material that first appeared on gurl.com, this book follows the eighth and ninth grade years of an artsy outsider who tries desperately to find her place in the high school world. Teenage angst flows off the pages from the very first line, which reads, "Hello! And welcome to my world, which is currently like being in jail!" Readers are taken on a roller coaster ride as Lauren, among other things, obsesses about her weight and unpopularity, bemoans the fact that if anyone found out she still played with Barbies, she'd be even more of a social outcast, deals with a naval piercing gone hopelessly awry, weathers her first breakup with a boy, and eventually comes to the realization that even though she is not popular, her art and music are enough to make her happy with who she is. If Lauren's story were told as a straight narrative, it would probably lose readers very quickly. It works, however, because it is told in comic book fashion, which allows the reader to draw as much from the pictures as the words of the story. Weinstein's bright colors and messy scraggly drawings are chaotic and perfectly mirror the messiness and chaos of the teenage years.
VOYA
Weinstein's collection of comics sheds new light on the phrase "painfully funny." The autobiographical main character Lauren is both charming and disturbed. Readers follow her exploits through eighth and ninth grades, watching her teenage ennui ebb and flow. Lauren, an art freak who loves the Smiths and still plays with Barbies, tries desperately to be one of the cool kids and find a boyfriend. Through vignettes, Lauren stumbles through life in and around Boston, Massachusetts, drools over skater boys, gets a punk makeover, has her belly button pierced, and champions an anarchists' Thanksgiving. Weinstein's cringe-inducing portrayals of awkward and unsure teenage melodrama will strike a chord with a wide audience. The graphic format makes this collection accessible and appealing. The drawing style changes from comic to comic, as this book collects seven years of Weinstein's work and helps make each story stand out as unique. Lauren and her friends (and not-so-friendly peers) come across as fully realized, infinitely relatable characters, with Lauren sounding like an Everygirl. Unlike many comics collections where the stories are too short to draw one in, these fleshed-out stories flow together nicely to create a smooth and satisfying narrative. Readers will close this book and want to know what happened to Lauren after ninth grade. Aptly titled, the book is a welcome addition to the male-dominated comics genre. Reminiscent of Lynda Barry's work, this alternative comic is sure to find a mainstream audience and would be a particularly excellent addition to any library collection. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S G (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; JuniorHigh, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Graphic Novel Format). 2006, Henry Holt, 240p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18.
—Amanda MacGregor
KLIATT
Girl Stories is a semi-autobiographical narrative of the author's teenage years. The portrait Weinstein paints of herself is both funny and nasty. She pretends to be a punk; fantasizes about her special relationship with Morrisey (the lead singer of The Smiths, a defunct rock group); pierces her belly button; gets her first boyfriend; and plays with her Barbies. The art is, as the author herself says, a mishmash of styles. The overall effect is of a sketch diary, crudely drawn but effective, with a focus on characters, minimal backgrounds, and the skillful use of color to set mood. The teen years are the first big trial in life we need to get through, and Girl Stories does a wonderful job of evoking the humor, angst and nastiness that is adolescence. Weinstein's recollection of being a teenager is dead-on: she is selfish, self-centered and shallow, as mean to the overweight girl in her school as her classmates. But she's also wistful, funny and naive, writing a letter to Mattel (the makers of Barbie) complaining about the lack of interesting Kens and bemoaning the fact that there are no pretty brown-haired Barbies. Girl Stories contains mild vulgarity, bellybutton piercing, heavy petting and some serious French kissing. Recommended for teens, especially the ones who want to learn who put #/@! in Glenn Schwartz's locker. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2006, Henry Holt, 240p. illus., Ages 15 to 18.
—George Galuschak
Kirkus Reviews
Presented as a graphic novel, this enthusiastic "I-want-people-to-like-me" memoir comes across as a frantic jumble of panels lacking cohesion. Merging several art techniques, the work displays color panels drawn over a period of seven years and formatted into a longer, horizontally shaped volume. Juvenile drawings contradict dialogue balloons containing rough words, a style which raises questions about the age level of the intended audience. For the majority of the pages, artwork is branded by broad strokes with minimal detail creating an almost childish tone. On the other hand, several sections contain extensively detailed close-up illustrations of characters' facial expressions. Forming a chronology of the author's teen years, several sections may spark readers' interest, such as giving Barbie dolls a twisted makeover and a dysfunctional family Thanksgiving, but these moments become lost in the many frames of over-the-top teen angst. Not essential, but a possible purchase for larger graphic-novel collections. (Graphic novel. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805078633
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 4/18/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren R. Weinstein draws comics, makes etchings, and teaches cartooning and drawing in New York City. Ms. Weinstein is also in an experimental rock band called Flaming Fire, and they are recording their third album. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2008

    Grat Book!!

    I loved this book. It showed the hardships teenagers have to go through in their everyday lives. But instead of just words it had colorful pictures that were fun to look at.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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