Justine

Justine Review

Summer 1999. Long Island, New York. Bored, restless, and lonely, Ali never expected her life would change as dramatically as it did the day she walked into the local Stop & Shop. But she’s never met anyone like Justine, the store’s cashier. Justine is so tall and thin she looks almost two-dimensional, and there’s a dazzling mischief in her wide smile. “Her smile lit me up and exposed me all at once,” Ali admits. “Justine was the light shining on me and the dark shadow it cast, and I wanted to stand there forever in the relief of that contrast.”

Ali applies for a job on the spot, securing a place for herself in Justine’s glittering vicinity. As Justine takes Ali under her wing, Ali learns how best to bag groceries, what foods to eat (and not to eat), how to shoplift, who to admire, and who she can become outside of her cold home, where her inattentive grandmother hardly notices the changes in her. Ali becomes more and more fixated on Justine, reshaping herself in her new idol’s image, leading to a series of events that spiral from superficial to seismic.

Justine, Forsyth Harmon’s illustrated debut, is an intimate and unflinching portrait of American girlhood at the edge of adulthood—one in which obsession hastens heartbreak.

Title:Justine

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    Justine Reviews

  • Paris (parisperusing)

    Tiny book, big boom. A salty-sweet story about the angst of making friends in an unfriendly town rife with lonely people, places and things; or rather, a cautionary tale about two very different girls...

  • Michelle

    This is more a character study. It's a coming of age story set in the 1990s New Jersey between two teenaged girls. The novel also feels like it was written then. There are illustrations throughout tha...

  • Carol (Bookaria)

    The novel is short but packs an emotional punch. Filled with imagery that will transport you to the experience of a chaotic, and at times, a confused-young girl living in the late 90s. I found the sto...

  • Julie Montgomery

    Harmon does something with images and text that I haven't seen before. Rather than following a standard, cell-based graphic novel format, she intersperses full-page and spot illustrations intermittent...

  • Michel

    I’m not really sure where to start. This wasn’t a terrible book, it was actually pretty well written. But it didn’t add anything new to any of the discourses it approached (eating disorders, sex...

  • Sana Lemoine

    Justine is a stunning illustrated novel that takes place over one hot summer in 1999 on Long Island. High-schooler Ali lives with her grandmother and their cat Marlena. The first time she sees Justine...

  • Matthew

    A quick, heavy hitting little story. It feels far more like a diary than a novel. Luckily, I am super nosey and adore the idea of being allowed to read through a stranger’s diary. And what makes thi...

  • Alisha

    A stunning debut by Forsyth Harmon that is a heartbreaking, relatable exploration of girlhood on the verge of womanhood. Lines of friendship are blurred, boundaries are crossed and innocence lost. The...

  • Meredith Ann

    More of an illustrated novella than anything else, Justine is a quick trip into teen girlhood of the late 90s that still feels timeless. It's the perfect length for the story being told. Harmon does a...

  • E.B.

    Forsyth you brilliant genius!!!! 🖤🖤🖤...