Nowhere Girl by Magali Le Huche

If you are looking for a new graphic novel to read, then I would recommend Nowhere Girl, a coming of age memoir by Magali Le Huche that will leave you entranced and inspired.

This graphic novel delves into the mind of Magali, a young teen navigating through her years of middle school. At the beginning she was excited for what was to come, to prove her worth to her teachers and family. But she soon realized that the academic perfection she was striving for was unachievable and felt unworthy as those around her seemed to take these challenges in stride. She began to  grieve the simpler times of her childhood where Santa Claus was real and she could play dress up. The weight Magali carried began to grow heavier and heavier and that dread spread throughout her life. She began to make every excuse imaginable to skip school, relying  on superstitions to succeed on her tests and sleeping with her books under her pillow. But that exhaustion and burnout festered into an extreme anxiety towards school and a need to isolate herself in her own world of daydreams and  music. I think for almost all teenagers this expression of burnout and anxiety from school/growing up through Magali’s character can be both empathized with and related to as we progress through this period of change. And the depiction of a character like Magali’s who is so deep in this spiral, being able to overcome her challenges through support from her loved ones and hard work  is both inspiring and motivating. 

If you are new to the world of graphic novels but enjoyed reading  the popular Smile or Drama novels by Raina Telgemeier, then I think you will really appreciate the elements of Nowhere Girl as well. They  are all coming of age stories following the mental health struggles of teenage girls exploring who they are and battling their struggles in new schools. But Nowhere Girl really stood out to me in terms of the artistic depiction of anxiety, depression, isolation, escape, etc. in comparison which really puts your mind into the headspace of the main character. 

In 2022, Nowhere Girl was selected for the Pépites Internationales (aka International Gems) which is a program that promotes French literature to young audiences. To win the title of Pépites Internationales, hundreds of young readers voted from a selection of the best recent books, which further demonstrates the positive impact this novel has on its audience. 

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