Feelings: A Story in Seasons by Manjitt Thapp
Penguin Random House
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Feelings: A Story in Seasons is an autobiographical work of graphic nonfiction by illustrator Manjitt Thapp. As she works towards an important creative deadline, Thapp takes the reader through one year of her life via the structure of six seasons (high summer, late summer, monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring). As the seasons change and progress, seasonal anxiety and depression rise and fall, impacting the artist’s creative abilities.
This beautiful graphic novel has a simple picture book style where seasons and emotions are conveyed by color palette, shadows, and light. The reader can feel the heat rise off the page along with the weight of Thapp’s depression as she goes through the motions of an oppressive summer day:
The sun taunts me. I’m struggling through shadows. While everyone else bathes in the light. I’m stuck on the dark side of the sun.
Teens, especially creatives, should find much to relate to when it comes to the struggles and highs of early adulthood. Thapp’s relationship with social media and other external pressures will also resonate.
Soft, quiet, and reflective, Feelings is a gift to the reader who needs it. There are many (necessary) books for teens that focus on the most serious and specific mental health concerns, but there are not many that feature characters with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Thapp’s memoir subtly explores the mental health of a person living with daily depression and anxiety, for whom the shifting of seasons can make a major impact on their ability to thrive. After this past year of pandemic isolation, many readers will see themselves in these pages.
Recommend Feelings: A Story in Seasons to readers who enjoy graphic novels by Tillie Walden, Mariko Tamaki, and Maggie Thrash, and to lists featuring books about mental health and/or featuring neurodiverse characters.
Other Nominated Titles
- Omni, v. 2: No More Hate by Melody Cooper, Enid Balam, and Giovanni Valletta (February 22, 2021)
- The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner (July 6, 2021)
- The Apothecary Diaries, v.1 by Natsu Hyuuga and Nekokurage (December 8, 2020)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.