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A raw graphic novel debut about a queer teen living in the margins who is determined to find their way ahead.
Are you supposed to be a boy or a girl?
It's a question that follows Claire everywhere. Inescapable on the street, in school, and even at home. A black hole forever trying to pull them in. But as long as they have ride-or-die best friend Greg at their side and a drink in their hand, everything will be okay. Right?
Except, Claire can never have just one drink. And when harassment at school reaches a fever pitch, Claire begins a spiral that ends in court-ordered rehab. Feeling completely lost, Claire is soon surrounded by a group of new friends and, with the help of a patient counselor, finds a space to unpack all the bad they've experienced. But as Claire’s release gets closer so does the question: Can Claire stay sober and true in a world seemingly never made for them?
Set in 1980s Troy, New York, Constellations is a portrait of a queer teen living in the margins but determined to find their way ahead. Done in watercolor and ink, debut author-artist Kate Glasheen has created a world where strong lines meet soft color, and raw emotions meet deep thought in this story of hope, humor, and survival.
An SLJ Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Top Ten First Novel for Youth
About the Author
Kate Glasheen was born and raised in Troy, New York and lived there until their departure for Pratt Institute for a BFA in Fine Art. Kate has since been a creator, artist, and contributor for several critically acclaimed books, participated in exhibitions and collections across the globe, and worked on several of the biggest properties in entertainment. Their artistic interests find communion in fine and sequential art under the notion that there’s something hilarious about something that’s not funny at all. Constellations is their author-artist debut. Kate lives, draws, and tattoos out of Philadelphia under the stringent supervision of Kipper the Cat.
★ "A tale of gender identity and recovery that will resonate with readers and leave them thinking long after the final page. A first purchase for all young adult library collections."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
★"This solo debut—a fictionalized, somewhat autobiographical accounting, as indicated in an author’s note—explores its protagonist’s struggles to be a part of their family and community while learning to accept themself, potently reflecting on themes of addiction, healing, and identity."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★ "Thoughtful artistic choices pair well with an excellent, illustriously lyrical approach to gender-expansive identity. . . . Claire’s story is a multifaceted must-have for young adult readers looking to better grasp the intersection of addiction and identity."—Booklist, Starred Review
"Exaggerated size and perspective emphasize raw experiences throughout the graphic novel. . . . The watercolor and ink illustrations add even more weight to the scenes. . . ."—The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books
"A brutal story with glimmers of hope shining through. . . ."—Kirkus Reviews
"A unique journey that doesn't turn away from hard truths; courageously honest and vulnerable."—Iasmin Omar Ata, the Ignatz Award-winning creator of Mis(h)adra
"Heartfelt and realistic, and painted in beautiful, lively watercolors—Constellations pulls no punches about the realities of navigating addiction and bullying as a teen, while also honoring the people who help us to survive and grow along the way."—Melanie Gillman, creator of As the Crow Flies and Other Ever Afters
"Constellations is a gut punch for anyone who grew up as a delinquent queer kid, desperately trying to become a monster in a world that treats us like monsters. Glasheen's watercolors shine with the clarity of memory, bringing us into a real 1986 that feels present, reminding us that the pain of interpersonal trauma is both historical and modern. We're reminded that queerness, too, is both historical and modern, and that becoming your authentic self will always be healing, and will always bring us together."—Priya Huq, cartoonist of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab