Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me Book Poster Image
Beautiful graphic novel about relationships and self-worth.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The book is meant to entertain, but readers will learn about the late gay activist Harvey Milk.

Positive Messages

Communication and friendship are important themes. Know your worth and have confidence knowing you deserve the best.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many diverse characters -- in terms of race, gender, body type, and sexual orientation -- and representations of love.

Violence
Sex

Characters kiss, make out, and flirt. There are brief mentions of the pill, condoms, and IUDs. A teen gets pregnant after having sex with a married man and then decides to get an abortion.

Language

Strong language includes variations of "bitch," "f--k," "s--t," "asshole," "Jesus," and "baby dykes."

Consumerism

Pop culture references include Sister Wives, House Hunters International, Charlie Brown, Taylor Swift, Whitney Houston, Boy George, and Janet Jackson.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink beer and schnapps. Freddy gets wasted and pukes at a donut shop.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me was named a 2020 Michael J. Printz Honor Book. It's a beautiful and emotional graphic novel about friendship, self-worth, toxic relationships, and the importance of communication in healthy relationships. Characters kiss, make out, and flirt. There are brief mentions of the pill, condoms, and IUDs. A teen gets pregnant after having sex with a married man and then decides to get an abortion. Strong language includes variations of "bitch," "f--k," "s--t," "asshole," "Jesus," and "baby dykes." Teens drink beer and schnapps. One character gets wasted and pukes at a donut shop.

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What's the story?

In LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME, 17-year-old Frederica "Freddy" Riley believes Laura Dean is her perfect match. She's cute, confident, and one of the most popular girls in school. But Laura Dean can also be selfish, mean, and passive-aggressive. Freddy's friends don't understand why she keeps taking Laura Dean back, and when Freddy tries to get over Laura Dean again, her best friend Doodle encourages her to get love advice from a mysterious medium called Seek-Her. As the drama and dysfunction in their on-again-off-again relationship continue to grow, Freddy questions if Laura Dean is the right girl for her. With new friends by her side and guidance from an online advice columnist, Anna Vice, Freddy might be able to break up with Laura Dean for good

Is it any good?

Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell's beautiful and emotional graphic novel thoughtfully explores friendship, love, toxic relationships, and self-worth. Teens will enjoy Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me's diverse cast of characters -- in race, gender, body type, and sexual orientation -- as well as the different representations of love and relationships. The concise writing and gorgeous illustrations perfectly capture Freddy's desire and desperation for Laura Dean's attention, her guilt when she recognizes she's been an awful friend, and her happiness when she realizes that she deserves better. As Freddy finds the confidence and strength to break the cycle of emotional abuse, teens will see how important communication is in healthy relationships.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the romance in Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. Do you think it's important for authors to depict LGBTQ and other diverse characters in mainstream books?

  • Are the friendships in the book believable? Which ones seem the most true-to-life?

  • How do the characters demonstrate communication? Why is this an important character strength?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love LGBTQ stories

Themes & Topics

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