Blue is the Warmest Color (2010)


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Originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaudeBlue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.

From: Arsenal Pulp Press

Notes on This Title

Also published as Blue Angel.


2010 Prix Conseil Régional at the festival of Blois
2010 Prix Jeune Auteur at the Salon de la BD et des Arts Graphiques of Roubaix
2011 Angoulême International Comics Festival Fnac-SNCF Essential
2011 4e Festival international de la BD d'Alger Best International Album


Starred review: “Love is a beautiful punishment in Maroh’s paean to confusion, passion, and discovery. Clementine, a high school student, is in the midst of an identity crisis when she locks eyes with older, blue-haired Emma on the street. That moment keeps bubbling up in Clementine’s dreams, drawing her toward a romantic truth that neither she, her family, nor her friends can or want to understand. Maroh’s moody, exaggerated drawings and cool-hued colors give everything a dreamlike patina. Adolescent identity-seeking plays out against a mixture of heart-thumping decisions and brief but steam-heated romantic interludes. Maroh twists this potentially diagrammatic love story into a more operatic affair by telling it all in flashback, as Emma reads Clementine’s diaries under the glowering eyes of her beloved’s parents, who blame Emma for their daughter’s death. Translated from the French, Maroh’s graphic novel has already been adapted into a film that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. Controversy over the film’s explicit love scenes (criticized by some, including Maroh herself, for being too voyeuristic and unromantic) will likely result in a lot of interest in this elegantly impassioned love story.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)

“From Belgium, the graphic novel on which the 2013 Palme d’Or-winning film of the same name was based. Clementine is 15 in 1994 when she sees a beautiful young woman with blue hair crossing the plaza. That night, the woman figures in an erotic dream, and her world is rocked. “I had no right to have thoughts like that.” When she meets blue-haired Emma for real, she begins an at-first platonic relationship with the art student, who tells Clementine of her own coming out. The relationship turns sexual (graphically, beautifully so) and complicated. The story is told in flashback; readers meet a years-older Emma in the aftermath of Clementine’s funeral as she reads Clementine’s teenage diaries. The late-2000s scenes are somber and washed with blues, while the bulk of the tale is drawn in delicate black, gray and white with strategic highlights of blue. The text is occasionally clunky and purposive-“We do not choose the one we fall in love with, and our perception of happiness is our own and is determined by what we experience-“-but the illustrations are infused with genuine, raw feeling. Wide-eyed Clementine wears every emotion on her sleeve, and even if today’s teens will feel that her mid-’90s experience is rather antique, they will understand her journey perfectly. Though a bit of a period piece, a lovely and wholehearted coming-out story.” (Source: Kirkus Review)


fnac: “Angoulême 2011 – Interview de Julie Maroh, gagnante du Prix du public Fnac-Sncf” [French]

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