Blue is the Warmest Color is a wonderful graphic novel that follows our main character Clementine, a French junior in high school. One day while walking down the street she notices a girl with blue hair. What Clementine isn’t prepared for, is an unexpected tinge of desire, so much so that the girl begins to enter her dreams….in an erotic manner causing all kind of confusion for our heroine as she begins to question her sexuality for the first time.
Later, she wanders into a lesbian bar with her best friend where she reencounters the blue-haired girl and learns that her name is Emma. Their attraction is instant and electric, and it doesn’t take long before Clementine realizes that she has fallen in love with Emma.
But acceptance of her newly-emerged sexuality doesn’t come easy for Clementine, and we experience the battle she faces not only internally but also amongst her peers at school surrounding her forbidden attraction. It’s about finding and accepting yourself even though everyone around you tells you that you are wrong, that the love that you feel is wrong.
What follows is a heartfelt coming-of-age story of first love, self-discovery, and ultimately tragedy. Yes, there’s tragedy, something we learn in the opening pages of the novel. So though it’s a beautiful love story, it’s also a heartbreaking one, one that was difficult to read in parts. This is as much a coming of age story about a girl’s awakened desires, as it is a story of hardship and loss.
The medium of a graphic novel is surprisingly effective in telling this raw and very intimate tale. Blue is the Warmest Color is an emotionally expressive and exquisitely drawn book about love, loss, depression, trauma, bullying, acceptance, homophobia and so much more.
It’s a dark book in places, filled with angst and fear, but it’s also a beautiful, swirling romantic sweep of a book chock full of gorgeous, evocative images which render this graphic novel a beautiful work of art. Maroh’s drawing skill is exceptional and smart, the rich and bold drawings expertly capturing the nervous and exciting awe of first love as well as uncertainty, guilt, shame and tragedy, panel after panel.
All in all, I adored the characters, the story and the illustrations and I’m so glad I came across this. It was not only a well-told, deeply moving tale but also a heart-tugger of a story that sticks with you and gives you plenty to think about afterward — or at least it did for me. Recommended!