Secondary schoolgirls Grace and Lola are bffs, united by many things but, most recently, by an utter bafflement as to the meaning, if not outright point, of love. In an effort to figure it all out, they begin a project called The Love Report, filling out a notebook with observations of people in love at their school, and interviews with same whenever possible.
Each girl has her own reasons for wanting to know more about love. Grace has had plenty of little boyfriends that she meets outside of school, falling in and out of love, and moving on to the next with scarcely a thought for the boy she’s just broken up with. Lola, however, has had a huge crush on classmate Noah since seemingly forever, and doesn’t understand why he never talks to her any more.
As the girls set about investigating the relationships between the other kids at their school, they gain unexpected allies in Charlie, the girl who always knows the best gossip; Felicity Sunshine, the beautiful, aloof girl all the guys want to be with, and Adele, the Goth girl with a Reputation. Grace and Lola soon find their expectations entirely exploded as they learn not only the truth about relationships but also the truth about the girls who quickly become their friends, even as their own friendship begins to fray under the pressures of new love and the secrets they’ve been keeping from one another. Will the girls be able to find their way back to each other before love tears them apart for good?
I really enjoyed this slice of life comic, that shines a spotlight on a very European approach to school-age romance, as well as friendship and life pressures. I really, really want to read the next book, as the girls get what I hope is their revenge. It’s a very wholesome graphic novel that doesn’t feel the need to Afterschool Special its advice, as the girls learn to believe in themselves and each other as they navigate the vagaries of love.
And I’m absolutely in love with Maya’s art here! It’s Ghibli-esque but, in my opinion, even more charming, with lovely color palettes and delightful details throughout. The characters are expressive and adorable, and the art overall propels the story almost as much as BeKa’s words do. This is an excellent debut that combines the first two collections published in French under the name College Coeur. I can’t wait for more!
The Love Report by BeKa & Maya was published June 13 2023 by Hippo Park and is available from all good booksellers, including