by Ariel Schrag



Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A memoir made while Schrag was still in high school, Potentialis an honest, rambling, obsessive narrative of high school angst, with a potential of its own peeking through. The story starts as Schrag comes to terms with the fact that she "only likes girls," and then moves into her first failed foray at a relationship, the loss of her virginity and the ups and downs of her first serious lesbian relationship. The plot is bumpy; some segments are awkwardly inserted and lack significant resolution, such as the section focusing on Schrag's attempt to lose her virginity to a guy friend. While an important episode of her adolescence, the segment seems isolated within the larger narrative of Schrag's relationship with her girlfriend, Sally, which is well developed and poignant. The art is very impressive for a comic made by an artist still in high school and matures over the course of the book. The emotional depth of the characters is depicted through vivid and fluid expressions, and Schrag uses different styles to illustrate varying states of consciousness. Schrag's later works are more mature and better formed, but this coming-of-age story amply displays the emotional uncertainty of adolescence. (May)

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Kirkus Reviews
Schrag (Awkward and Definition, 2008, etc.) explores her junior year of high school, a period of self-discovery amid social minefields, all the more complicated for a gay student. The second volume of the "High School Comic Chronicles" finds the author dealing with all sorts of personal challenges, both at home and at school. Her constantly bickering parents appear headed for divorce; she feels the pressure to realize her potential as a student; she confronts countless questions regarding her sexuality: Does bisexuality exist, or is it a cop-out? Is it necessary to have sex with a boy to lose one's virginity? What does it mean when your girlfriend doesn't desire you as much as you desire her? Since the author wrote the book during the summer following her junior year, Schrag's fellow students were aware that she was chronicling their life as a graphic narrative. As such, the book becomes a kind of meta-comic, in which there are plenty of comments about what is and is not included. As the title suggests, identities are fluid rather than fixed, and the characters are in a state of becoming rather than being. Though Schrag's classmates at California's Berkeley High School may have been a little hipper than many throughout the country, most were equally clueless when it comes to figuring out who they really are and what they really want. There is plenty of sex here, somehow as innocent as it is explicit. This should be a breakout year for Schrag, with both a film based on this book and a third graphic volume documenting her senior year (Likewise) due within months. A smart, sweet graphic memoir. Schrag's work should resonate with anyone-female or male, gay or straight-who has survived highschool.

Product Details

SLG Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.00(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Ariel Schrag is also the author of the autobiographical comic books Potential, which was nominated for an Eisner Award, and Likewise. She divides her time between Los Angeles and New York.

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