I think what resonated so much with me from Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is how much like Freddy I was in high school.
Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.
Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: abortion, relationship with a minor
What I really enjoyed about Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is how much like Freddy I was in high school. Talk about feeling seen. So many situations were exactly the same and I almost felt like I was flipping through a scrapbook of all my bad decisions. Reading Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me was like confronting the ways I was an awful friend, engaged in a toxic relationship, and lost all sense of who I was in high school. I especially loved that this graphic novel is a story about a queer relationship where coming out isn’t the only facet of a queer story.
I do want to say that there is a relationship between a minor and an adult in this book which isn’t broken down at all. The conversation seems to be more hung up about the fact that the adult is married, not that it is an adult. This is certainly a topic that has been coming up in more books that I have been reading lately, I just felt like it warranted more discussion in the story and I would just know this before going in. Especially as a different potential relationship with someone who is older, and the age gap, only a year, is addressed within the book.
Ultimately what I enjoyed so much about Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is that this story is about Freddy’s journey to discover and own her own worth. This as a lesson I didn’t learn until much later and after many more years, so I do hope that readers can read this and see Freddy’s own journey. It encapsulates how selfish and self-absorbed some of my decisions were in high school, and the work I have done in valuing myself and my supportive relationships since. It’s about friendship, self-worth, and finding the courage to do what relationships are supposed to do for you. It’s about what love can offer you, if you are happy, if you find yourself loving the person you are with them.