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Are You Listening?

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Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to c Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.


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Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to c Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

30 review for Are You Listening?

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This book will always have a super special place in my heart because I read the entire thing from start to finish at Disneyland <3 TW: sexual assault, death of a parent

  2. 4 out of 5

    emma

    the biggest problem i have with graphic novels is always that i never FEEL ANYTHING. there's so little to them. they're like a meringue, and honestly, who likes meringues anyway? but i digress. at the best of times, a graphic novel tends to feel incomplete. this is only truer if that graphic novel contains two separate character arcs, plus a handful of very thorny and complex social issues, plus a near-inexplicable introduction of some very complicated magical realism. the biggest problem i have with graphic novels is always that i never FEEL ANYTHING. there's so little to them. they're like a meringue, and honestly, who likes meringues anyway? but i digress. at the best of times, a graphic novel tends to feel incomplete. this is only truer if that graphic novel contains two separate character arcs, plus a handful of very thorny and complex social issues, plus a near-inexplicable introduction of some very complicated magical realism. basically what i'm saying is that i was incapable of feeling much of anything for these characters, because they never once felt developed to me, and also i had no goddamn idea what was going on for approximately a third of this book. and tragically, neither the fact that it's quite lengthy for a graphic novel or that the art is very very pretty was enough to change that. bottom line: no thank you. except to the art! to that i say yes thank you. ---------- you had me at "lgbtq+ magical realism graphic novel with gorgeous illustrations and also it's a road trip" (thanks to first second for the ARC)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    This is an odd graphic novel. It’s one of those stories you read because they’re fast-paced, mysterious and atmospheric, but you have no actual idea what the hell you’re reading about and what the point of everything is. It takes a while to even understand the link between the two main characters, let alone the plot itself. And yet I enjoyed it. I finished it in a single sitting. I even managed to feel something for both Bea and Lou, despite knowing very little about both y This is an odd graphic novel. It’s one of those stories you read because they’re fast-paced, mysterious and atmospheric, but you have no actual idea what the hell you’re reading about and what the point of everything is. It takes a while to even understand the link between the two main characters, let alone the plot itself. And yet I enjoyed it. I finished it in a single sitting. I even managed to feel something for both Bea and Lou, despite knowing very little about both young women. But sometimes you connect with someone or care about someone not because you know them oh so well, but because you see them interact with and talk about the people in their lives and you like what you see and hear. The story is a mess, God. It’s definitely sinister—this is my first time using this word to describe a book by the way—and the danger that seems to be looming grips you… but it also confuses you because the author doesn’t really take the time to set the scene for the reader and, personally, I had no idea this would be a magical realism book. So if you want to read this book, read it for the characters, atmosphere and calming illustrations, not the weird storyline and attempt to develop upon important themes because those themes, while discussed to some extent, should have been emphasized more and better. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Not much ever really happens in Tillie Walden books, but I haven't really much cared, for the most part. She's a very young and remarkably prolific artist/author who writes mainly about spacious and gorgeously pastel watercolored queer worlds, generally as few males as possible, and all the women/girls are halting, reticent, edging toward each other in desire. It's not wild women, never raucous hilarious women, it's tortured, private women. This one is a little different in some respects; she's Not much ever really happens in Tillie Walden books, but I haven't really much cared, for the most part. She's a very young and remarkably prolific artist/author who writes mainly about spacious and gorgeously pastel watercolored queer worlds, generally as few males as possible, and all the women/girls are halting, reticent, edging toward each other in desire. It's not wild women, never raucous hilarious women, it's tortured, private women. This one is a little different in some respects; she's trying some new things. This is a road trip, involving an escape to West Texas for Lou, 27, and Bea, a teen, who have both suffered grief/trauma (one survives sexual assault, revealed right there in the publisher jacket description). That's already a difference, in that is a remarkable set of dramatic revelations not typical for Walden. Otherwise it feels familiar as a Walden story, aimless, they have no real destination in their travel; the point is in the mundane title, that they--in spite of regularly sniping at each other--finally listen to each other's stories and support each other. Another difference: there's no explicit desire between the girl and the woman; they just befriend each other, so that seems rare in these early Walden works. So that's exactly what it sounds like: Pretty straightforward and unremarkable storytelling, though it's cartooned with such subtlety and grace and quiet flair you really just have to keep reading/viewing. They also pick up a lost cat along the way that would seem to possess some magical properties, which come in handy as they are pursued by a couple of ominous High Way Control guys. Not sure why any of that stuff needed to be in here, but one of Walden's stories is sci-fi, taking place in a crumbling school floating in space, but these elements didn't really seem integral to the plot. They just add some magic (the cat) and suspense (the creepy guys). That there are as many guys in this story as there are is also different for Walden. The space novel had zero guys in it. And there's also very little atmospheric architecture in this one; Walden loves to draw cool large buildings and this has only one, a large abandoned building with a pool in it, for some reason. Feels dream-like, serves no real purpose in the narrative except for them to take a break from their travels and swim in it. I think the mundane friendship story mashed with the peripheral suspense/magic genre elements make this a 3 star story for me, but I don't seem to be able to give Walden less than five stars for her illustration work, so I'm still up to 4 stars for this one. You just have to pick one up even just to look at it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ivy

    Full review: https://bookpeopleteens.wordpress.com... “But here, everything is listening. The road, the cloud, the trees… they know all your secrets. Everything you’ve seen is built by you. Which is why you’ll never see it again.” Are You Listening? is a beautiful piece of magical realism, with enough mystery and heart to make it refreshingly profound as well as easily re-readable. I’d not only recommend it to fans of Walden’s previous work, but also to anyone looking for one of the most original graphic novels I’ve read in a long time. Are/>“But Full review: https://bookpeopleteens.wordpress.com... “But here, everything is listening. The road, the cloud, the trees… they know all your secrets. Everything you’ve seen is built by you. Which is why you’ll never see it again.” Are You Listening? is a beautiful piece of magical realism, with enough mystery and heart to make it refreshingly profound as well as easily re-readable. I’d not only recommend it to fans of Walden’s previous work, but also to anyone looking for one of the most original graphic novels I’ve read in a long time. For fans of: Texas, Road Trips, Ridiculous Talent

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    “You told me. You told me. That's fighting.” This was so, so intense. I didn't know that this had fabulist elements in it, so I was a little bit caught off guard by that but this was so powerful and well done. I read an ARC, so I don't know how this is gonna look fully coloured but the first couple of pages were already so promising and in general the art is absolutely beautiful. I could imagine that I'd give this five stars if I reread a finished copy! Trigger warnings for rape. ♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦ This was gifted to me by the wonderful Melanie 💜💜

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* After running away from home, Bea runs into Lou. They set off on a road trip to West Texas. As the two get to know each other, emotional information is brought to light, Lou tries to be the mentor Bea never had. This was... interesting. Half the time I was a bit confused on what was actually going on. At one point I think there was a magi Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* After running away from home, Bea runs into Lou. They set off on a road trip to West Texas. As the two get to know each other, emotional information is brought to light, Lou tries to be the mentor Bea never had. This was... interesting. Half the time I was a bit confused on what was actually going on. At one point I think there was a magical cat? I liked the mix of coloured and black and white panels, I think it worked well for the atmosphere of the graphic novel. I liked Bea and Lou as characters and how they each leaned on each other in their time of need.

  8. 4 out of 5

    My_Strange_Reading

    RTC. It was beautiful but I feel like it tried too hard to be too many things

  9. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Tillie Walden just gets better and better with every book. She manages to combine painful explorations of emotion and identity with fantasy elements in a way that no one else does.

  10. 5 out of 5

    amanda (*´-`)

    nothing wrong with this book, i just didn’t like it as much as i thought i would. i definitely enjoyed the second half more than the first half though (especially when it became more magical), and the art style was as beautiful as always!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This is the third graphic novel I've read by this author, and I think this is her best one yet. It's essentially a road trip novel, albeit a fairly short one with supernatural elements. This is the story of two women, one older, one younger, who are both running away from home. They meet up and the developing relationship is a delight to watch unfold. Both women are queer, and I so liked that the story did not follow predictable plot lines. I was rather confused by the supernatural ov This is the third graphic novel I've read by this author, and I think this is her best one yet. It's essentially a road trip novel, albeit a fairly short one with supernatural elements. This is the story of two women, one older, one younger, who are both running away from home. They meet up and the developing relationship is a delight to watch unfold. Both women are queer, and I so liked that the story did not follow predictable plot lines. I was rather confused by the supernatural overlay, but that cat was really cool. The art is lovely and wonderfully evokes the moody and somewhat surreal landscapes the travelers pass through. It's always a delight when you see an author start to hit her stride, and I look forward to seeing what she creates next.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    A road trip across Texas for two women, each running from her own trauma, ravels into a vague supernatural odyssey that I didn't entirely follow but could not stop reading or caring about.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mari Johnston

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. READ THE BOOK

  14. 5 out of 5

    ellie

    i love tillie walden’s art

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    surreal and magical and beautiful and emotional. tillie walden does it AGAIN!

  16. 5 out of 5

    oliversromeo

    i loved this graphic novel so much. tille walden literally can do no wrong; her art is amazing, the storytelling was so fluid and whimsical, and the character dialogue was so realistic and hilarious. i highly recommend every one of her books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    mina reads™️

    3.75 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Alice

    Gorgeous and strange. Are You Listening? offers a heartbreaking and otherworldly look at the effects of both grief and sexual assault. I’m so glad I live in a world where Tillie Walden comics exist.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna Banana

    3.5 stars This graphic novel is sorta magical realism and talks about some important topics that I wasn't expecting. I liked how this was about two characters and we kind of see their character arcs start off as parallel to each other and then sort of intersect. The art was really pretty and there were certain scenes that I feel impacted me more because of the art and the art definitely helped infuse the eery and mysterious vibe throughout the entire book where you feel like something is not 3.5 stars This graphic novel is sorta magical realism and talks about some important topics that I wasn't expecting. I liked how this was about two characters and we kind of see their character arcs start off as parallel to each other and then sort of intersect. The art was really pretty and there were certain scenes that I feel impacted me more because of the art and the art definitely helped infuse the eery and mysterious vibe throughout the entire book where you feel like something is not right and something bad will happen and you just keep waiting. Like when you're watching a scary movie. The ending is open ended which is one of my least favorite types of endings but I get it. I also don't feel like I fully cared or felt attached to these characters or this story. It was like I kept reading because of the art but I didn't necessarily care about what was happening on the page? I feel like they are both such interesting characters and had such interesting backstory but I wish we could've gotten more about them, more development, etc. Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)[death of a parent, rape/incest (talked about but not seen) (hide spoiler)]

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cy

    fantastical and weird and dreamy and probably more intended to be felt than understood.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carin

    Bea has run away. At a gas station, she runs into Lou, an older family friend, who is driving to West Texas to visit family. Bea says she is on her way to West Texas too, and Lou gives her a ride. Bea is angry and volatile, but luckily Lou is both understanding and no-nonsense. As the miles tick away, they rescue a lost cat, and determine to try to return her to her home. Mysterious men in a van start following them, and the town where the cat is from seems to have magical elements. as fantastic Bea has run away. At a gas station, she runs into Lou, an older family friend, who is driving to West Texas to visit family. Bea says she is on her way to West Texas too, and Lou gives her a ride. Bea is angry and volatile, but luckily Lou is both understanding and no-nonsense. As the miles tick away, they rescue a lost cat, and determine to try to return her to her home. Mysterious men in a van start following them, and the town where the cat is from seems to have magical elements. as fantastical things happen, Bea and Lou come to understandings about themselves and their pasts, and what they want for their futures. And the cat. Lushly drawn, in a Texas I've never seen before full of snow and magic, these two women come to terms with themselves. With the help of a snow-white cat.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    this was chaos in pictures. but also a fever dream. either way, the main characters were initially hard to distinguish (in my defense they both had short hair & wore read shirts) & it was overwrought (view spoiler)[ and i say that not easily given it was about trauma & grief (hide spoiler)] + fantastical (view spoiler)[WTF with the cat though? (hide spoiler)] . not my cup of tea.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is an odd and thoughtful book about running away and where to run to. It starts out like a travel story and then moves into a dreamscape where things are not as they seem. Lou is running from something as is Bea but both don’t want to discuss what that something is. And then there is diamond, the cat that the mysterious men want. Lou is a mechanic, and loves her job, but she uses it as a means to an end, just wants a break. Bea is rudderless. I liked the fee This is an odd and thoughtful book about running away and where to run to. It starts out like a travel story and then moves into a dreamscape where things are not as they seem. Lou is running from something as is Bea but both don’t want to discuss what that something is. And then there is diamond, the cat that the mysterious men want. Lou is a mechanic, and loves her job, but she uses it as a means to an end, just wants a break. Bea is rudderless. I liked the feel of driving. At night. The enclosed space. THe closing in of night. The drawings all reflect that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeweliana

    While I really enjoyed Tillie Waldens "on a Sunbeam", this one just missed the mark. This is a story about an 18 year old girl who runs away from home and ends up road tripping with her 27 year old neighbor / family mechanic or whatever. I wasn't thrilled with either of the characters. Bea is incredibly angsty and disrespectful. She's literally in the middle of nowhere with no money and no transportation and she's talking shit to the only person trying to help her.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin Cataldi

    I will say the illustrations in this graphic novel are lush and gorgeous. But as for the story itself, I couldn't really get into it. Maybe because I couldn't necessarily relate or because I didn't care, I'm not sure. Bea is running away and she lucks into Lou who gives her a ride. Together the two annoy each other and rely on each other in equal measure. They find a stray cat on their journey and they find themselves bonding over that and over past trauma they've both experienced. Soon they're I will say the illustrations in this graphic novel are lush and gorgeous. But as for the story itself, I couldn't really get into it. Maybe because I couldn't necessarily relate or because I didn't care, I'm not sure. Bea is running away and she lucks into Lou who gives her a ride. Together the two annoy each other and rely on each other in equal measure. They find a stray cat on their journey and they find themselves bonding over that and over past trauma they've both experienced. Soon they're no longer on the map and the only thing they have is each other. But is that enough? I was very underwhelmed but I didn't hate it. I think you need the right reader for this one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rhys

    Read this all in one sitting around midnight to one just now. I have mixed feelings on some parts of this graphic novel, but there's just something so amazing about Walden's works that I couldn't not give it at least 4 stars. The atmosphere and the art and the emotional experience of reading did it for me. Lou and Bea are so very real and I really grew to love them during the story, and to want them to grieve and heal. Longer review to come when it isn't 2 in the morning? Maybe? I just love Wald Read this all in one sitting around midnight to one just now. I have mixed feelings on some parts of this graphic novel, but there's just something so amazing about Walden's works that I couldn't not give it at least 4 stars. The atmosphere and the art and the emotional experience of reading did it for me. Lou and Bea are so very real and I really grew to love them during the story, and to want them to grieve and heal. Longer review to come when it isn't 2 in the morning? Maybe? I just love Walden's stories and art so much.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Beautiful journey story about two girls that end up together on the road and have to face an inner journey while on this road trip. What brings them really together is a lost cat they determine to find the owner of and return. I love the nuances of the book and the way Tillie uses imagery and story telling to bring harder issues to light. Really enjoyed this graphic novel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    laura

    I feel very meh about this. Like it was cute but at the same time I didn’t feel much about it. But I do like that it’s a very deep story about finding yourself and figuring stuff out. TW: mentions of rape

  29. 4 out of 5

    emma

    Are You Listening follows two girls driving through West Texas as it shifts beneath them, and as they get to know each other. The magical surrealism of this comic paid off in about four pages towards the very end; otherwise this book just felt like a fever dream, nightmarish and confusing. I liked those pages, but it could have been a mini comic. I understand that that's how you're supposed to feel, to put you in place of the characters, but I was aggravated because I didn't understand some Are You Listening follows two girls driving through West Texas as it shifts beneath them, and as they get to know each other. The magical surrealism of this comic paid off in about four pages towards the very end; otherwise this book just felt like a fever dream, nightmarish and confusing. I liked those pages, but it could have been a mini comic. I understand that that's how you're supposed to feel, to put you in place of the characters, but I was aggravated because I didn't understand some decisions the characters made- mainly, the cat??? Why?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    I enjoyed the artwork in this quite a bit, and appreciate the overall story and message. That said, it didn't fully connect with me, as YA Issue books tend to be a bit of a hard sell for me

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