03 Dec / When Everything Turned Blue by Alessandro Baronciani, translated by Carla Roncalli di Montorio [in Booklist]
Marco, Chiara remembers of her close friend, “was not afraid … of being ill.” The sudden news of his death leaves Chiara “even more frightened” – because, ironically, he remained positive despite a fatal diagnosis while she remained debilitatingly “scared.”
The first time “it” happened, Chiara “[didn’t] know what came over [her].” She tries medications and various tests: “Could be the lungs. You struggle for breath. Terrible headaches.” She seeks doctors, loses her lover, and ostracizes friends. “Acknowledging panic attacks as an illness is very important,” she finally begins to accept, “you realize you’re not alone, at last.“ And so she heads toward possible recovery.
Originally published in 2020 in Italy and newly published in the U.S. in a smooth translation by Carla Roncalli di Montorio, Baronciani’s gentle narrative highlights the challenges of navigating mental health and offers universal resonance. In his expressive blue-and-white panels, Baronciani opens and ends in the unlimited sea as he literally transforms what was initially a “depth of darkness” for Chiara into “water all around me [that] keeps me up … and I feel like I’m flying.”
YA/S – special interest: Teens facing mental health challenges will find an empathetic, resonating read here.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2020 (Italy), 2022 (United States)