Maggie Thrash’s celebrated graphic memoir Honor Girl followed young Maggie through a season of summer camp, where a revelatory crush on an older female counselor changes her life. Her second memoir, Lost Soul, Be at Peace, out October 9, kicks off a year and a half later. Maggie is depressed, friendless, alternately confounding or ignored by her parents. When her only friend, Tommi—who happens to be a cat—wanders off into the walls of her massive house, she sets out to find him. What she discovers instead takes her tale into the realm of the supernatural, in a hilarious, darkly honest tale that evokes the profound loneliness of adolescence and the inherent mystery of being caught between a childhood you’re forgetting and an adulthood you can’t fathom (while making you laugh out loud).
To celebrate the reveal of the book’s haunting cover, we asked Thrash a few questions about her art, her teen self, and ghost stories.
How did you zero in on this episode in your life to build a memoir around?
Lost Soul, Be at Peace is the next chapter in my life after Honor Girl—and it’s a pretty dark chapter. I was depressed all the time and had no friends except for my cat. So the book is kind of a love letter to pure teen anguish. And to cats.
I love that you married memoir with graphic novel with supernatural elements. What inspired you to make this book a sort of ghost story?
For me, “haunted” is the best way to describe the feeling of depression. It’s like there’s a ghost you can’t get rid of—or maybe the ghost is you. I really wanted to capture that lonely feeling, and keep the reader guessing about what’s real and what’s not. But at the same time, it’s still a memoir. It’s about me at sixteen, trying to deal with life.
Because it’s a graphic novel, you’re the rare author who gets to create your own cover. How did you decide on this image?
I definitely wanted the cover to evoke a ghost story. I also wanted to show that Maggie has changed since Honor Girl. She has purple hair now, and a very grownup blazer/skirt combo thing going on. She’s a little weirder, a little darker—and so is her story.
What books did teen Maggie love? And what books exist now—graphic novels and otherwise—that you wish she’d been able to discover?
Teen Maggie was all about The Bell Jar. I also read lot of French lesbian eroticism that went waaay over my head. I would have loved Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. And I really wish Twilight had existed back then. Even though those books are super heteronormative, the angst is still so relatable. Every single character is just a ball of emotional turmoil. I would have eaten it up!
Lost Soul, Be at Peace hits shelves October 9, and is available for preorder now.