Book - 2017
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Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden's powerful graphic memoir captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know. It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark. Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again. She was good. She won. And she hated it. For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice.
Publisher: New York : First Second, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781626729407
Characteristics: 395 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

"A graphic memoir recounts the years Walden spent competitively figure skating, before her developing love of art and first girlfriend causes her to question the insular world of figure skating." --From Novelist

List - Graphic Memoir
SPPL_MattM May 15, 2020

Coming of age story about a young Tillie Walden and her career as a figure skater.

A graphic memoir recounts the years Walden spent competitively figure skating, before her developing love of art and first girlfriend causes her to question the insular world of figure skating.

List - LGBTQIA+ Graphics
SPPL_MattM Jun 17, 2020

A graphic memoir recounts the years Walden spent competitively figure skating, before her developing love of art and first girlfriend causes her to question the insular world of figure skating.

From the critics

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Apr 07, 2021

A moody (in the best sense) coming of age story, I enjoyed the subtle art and the authentic voice of this graphic memoir.

Desire Deschenes
Mar 25, 2020

This book has beautiful artwork and a very personal theme. The theme is portrayed and written well into the story and has you crying with Tillie. I really enjoyed and connected with this book and have to disagree with many of the other comments.

I read this whole book in one sitting, as is fitting for most of Tillie Walden's books. Not my favorite, but the artwork is still stunning and you can feel the emotions Walden struggles with growing up.

JCLBrittanyC Nov 01, 2019

Spinning is Tillie Walden’s memoir of her ten years as a competitive figure skater.
The ten years overlap with her years in both middle school and high school, so
major developmental years. The focus of the novel does seem to be on figure
skating, but there is so much more that Tillie experienced during those ten years
that she highlights as well. Through the years Tillie is bullied, feels misplaced,
comes out, and deals with sexual harassment. All of which, she felt connected
back to her personal figure skating experience. I found this biography quite
interesting as it jumped into a world that I have never known about. I think Tillie did
a wonderful job of being very vulnerable throughout the novel, helping you as the
reader feel quite connected to her and her experiences.

Aug 08, 2019

Spinning is an engaging autobiography which tells the life of a young girl coming of age. The book covers a large part of the author's life and provides insight on growing up and coming out. I enjoyed the innocence of the storyteller and the way she was able to connect with the reader. I highly recommend this book to teenagers.

Apr 09, 2019

Tillie Walden is one to watch!

Oct 13, 2018

A little uneven in structure, but this first long-form graphic novel by Walden really got my attention. It's the story of Walden growing up heavily involved in figure skating, even though she mostly hates it, and her experience coming to realize she's a lesbian. The art is so lovely, and Walden is definitely one to watch, having completed this at age 21 - whaaaa? If you're at all interested in young women's lives, queer fiction, coming of age stories, figure skating, or emerging talents in comics, seriously consider giving this a try.

Content warning: sexual assault.

Aug 14, 2018

The catching cover of this graphic novel immediately grasped my attention, and I knew from that moment I would get a good read and out of this book. I loved the graphics, each square was nicely thought out, and everything was visually very pleasing, but the real good part was discription of the sensation on ice. I don't figure skate, but I could literally imagine the feeling of doing spins and jumps on ice, which was pretty cool.

JessicaGma Jun 19, 2018

Great artwork, and interesting theme, but I have to agree with the other commenters in that it's a pretty surface skim of her adolescent years and some of the themes could have been examined more. Mind you, it did make me think of being alone in a cold arena, so it was successful in that sense.

TechLibrarian Apr 14, 2018

I picked this up because it had been a while since I read a graphic novel, and I was curious as to what secrets it held--I figured it wouldn't just be about figure skating! Like lots of graphic novels, the format belies a serious storyline: Tillie is a teen coping with some really difficult issues, and having to make some big decisions. It's a quick read and the illustrations carry a lot of momentum. Anyone who participated in sports as a teen may be able to relate to this book, and I'd definitely recommend it to others who like to read graphic novels.

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Add Age Suitability
Jul 29, 2018

sands7447 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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