27 Jan / Crushing by Sophie Burrows [in Booklist]
From just the cover, the color red immediately suggests a strangers-to-not narrative; that floating heart in the title underscores what’s to come. But knowing what happens doesn’t diminish in any way Sophie Burrows’ poignant, timely, mostly wordless graphic debut.
Set in London, where Burrows also lives, the story opens with a pastoral park scene that zooms in a couple pages later onto a young woman, dressed in a red coat and sitting on a bench eating a sandwich. A bird visits, but its rejection of her bread crust emphasizes the title of the magazine tucked next to her – “LOSS,” it seems to read, until the next page reveals the full cover as an issue of GLOSS, advertising “Sex” and “Hunks off the telly.” Watch for it: Burrows exhibits that deft cleverness throughout.
Alas, the woman’s journey home continues to bombard her with reminders of all the intimacies lacking in her own life. Her disturbing attempts at connections on the Tube, on dating apps, and at an outdoor class further isolate. Meanwhile, another single soul – a young man she’s already met, though she doesn’t yet realize it – is also navigating the city solo.
Burrows’ pencil drawings in mostly grays-to-blues enhanced with glowing reds produce a visually and emotionally nourishing feast. Although marketed for young adults by the publisher, Burrows’ memorable creation should resonate with singles of any age in search of connection.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult