In Limbo – book review

In Limbo
by Deb JJ Lee
Graphic Novel
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Deborah is Korean American (she came to the US with her family when she was 3) and she’s struggling to find a path for herself. Her mother has Great Expectations for her future and becomes angry and physically violent with Deb when she fails to get perfect grades, speak Korean fluently, and become a musical virtuoso. Deb wants to please and wants to do well, but her heart isn’t in it. She is drawn to making art most of all and over the course of her first year in high school she starts learning how to advocate for herself. Things get messy with her family and friendships however, and Deb winds up in the hospital and in therapy after she attempts to take her own life – another thing for her mother to be angry about. Therapy helps a lot, even if it’s not something her mother will let her do on a continuing basis. Deb also finds other friendships in the city, where she takes art classes. It’s a tough journey out of adolescence for her, but she can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Deb spent several years working on this graphic memoir about her high school years/teenage self and talks about the writing/creation process in an afterward. It’s a powerful story and may resonate with other young people who are struggling to find their way. For high school teens and adults.

Reviewed by YA Librarian

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