We haven’t reviewed any of Jillian Tamaki’s previous graphic novels, because they are usually marketed as YA. Her new work, Boundless, is being published as adult, perhaps because the characters are grown-ups and the tone is more philosophical. But there’s no question that teen fans of Tamaki’s work, including the Printz Honor book This One Summer, should check out Boundless, for its thoughtful themes, certainly, but also for more of Tamaki’s superb illustrations.
TAMAKI, Jillian. Boundless. illus. by Jilliam Tamaki. 248p. Drawn & Quarterly. Jun. 2017. pap. $24.95. ISBN 9781770462878.
Could you shrink to become nothing but an idea in the air: alive, but with no body or voice? Could bedbugs ruin your life while simultaneously strengthening your marriage? What do fans of Radiohead and the author’s earlier Sex Coven have in common? The answers are not supplied in these fleeting yet haunting stories told through art and spare text. Tamaki allows readers to interpret this book for themselves while slipping under the skin to scratch the icky spots many of us don’t wish to see. In “1.Jenny,” for instance, a woman questions the alternative and more interesting version of her life when it appears on the mirror site of Facebook. She grows uncomfortable with the dichotomy of the life she is living vs. the one 1.Jenny is posting about. Beneath each character’s plight we see vulnerable version of ourselves. Tamaki’s characters grapple with adult issues that demand time for reflection. VERDICT A thoughtful choice for older teens and college students who question the idea of a single linear path.
-Pamela Schembri, Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY