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Book Info:

Freshman Year by Sarah Mai

Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel

Publishing Date: February 13, 2024



A stylish graphic novel about the unique angst, humor, and self-doubt universal to the experience of going away to college—from a promising debut talent—for fans of  Heartstopper .

Everyone gets a fresh start. Who do you want to be? 

Sarah is leaving suburban Wisconsin for her freshman year in Minnesota. She has high hopes for the  impress her professors, meet interesting new people, stay close to her best friends and boyfriend back home, flourish as an artist, and shed her lingering high school anxieties. What seems manageable at first quickly unravels into a Sarah’s high-achieving roommate puts her to shame, her summer love dissolves, and she is quickly overwhelmed by the freedom, the isolation, and all the possibilities that await in this new environment.Based on the author’s personal college journal and comics,  Freshman Year  navigates the inner workings of an 18-year-old girl in witty, honest, and heartfelt detail.  This graduation gift pairs perfectly with OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!.   Dr. Seuss’s sentimental graduation picture book is beloved, but the one teens really need is Freshman Year.  This graphic novel debut shows the places students actually  do  go—the home goods aisle at Target; lavish libraries; grungy parties off campus; cereal-for-dinner at the dining hall. 

Whether you’re anxiously looking forward or nostalgically looking back, this is the perfect read for anyone who loves realistic graphic novels about the laughable growing pains of almost-adulthood, like Check, Please! and Bloom . 


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About the Author:

Sarah Mai is an illustrator and writer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she developed a passion for graphic novels, and is the illustrator of The Cool Code and The Cool Code 2.0: The Switch Glitch written by Deirdre Langeland. Freshman Year marks her author-illustrator debut.


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I don't read many Graphic Novels which are drawn in Black and White and this is the main reason why I wanted to read Freshman Year and it was a memoir of Sarah's own Freshman Year.

On the whole I did enjoy the story but felt that the whole story was a bit higgle piggle and sometimes I was not sure who was who and what was going on. Maybe Chapter headings would of been a good idea.

I also would of liked to get to know more about her Parents as you get a real feel from that kind of relationship.

For me as a Brit it was fascinating to get an insight into American Education.

For all the above reasons Freshman Year receives 3 stars

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