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Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary
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Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  722 ratings  ·  189 reviews
In the tradition of Persepolis and American Born Chinese, a wise and funny high school heroine comes of age.

Tina M., sophomore, is a wry observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy, and of the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. She's on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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On one hand, Tina's Mouth is treading very familiar ground. Tina's best friend dumps her in favor of her new boyfriend. She herself has a crush on a boy who's giving her mixed signals. Her family is loving, but both of her older siblings have dramas of their own going on that absorb much of her parents' attention. All plot threads that show up hundreds of times in YA. So what makes Tina's Mouth different?

There's the format, for one. It's billed as a graphic novel, and I'll give it that. But it m...more
First of all, I think the cover on this is absolutely yummy. Rich teal with colored images of the girl and her philosopher.

The story isn't bad either. Fairly standard coming-of-age, girl in a private school, crush on the wrong guy, Indian-American, friend-break-up, cast in a play, teenage story. Personally, I didn't feel the influence of the existentialism much at all, except as a gimmick. But it's an engaging enough story.

The illustration style is the most unique thing about this. Black and whi...more
I loved this book! Tina is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and has to deal with the usual questions about India - the red dot, the blue god, etc. But Tina is taking a course in Existentialism in her high school, which has led her to ask her own questions, such as "Who am I?" In her existential diary, which comprises the book, Tina addresses Jean-Paul Satre directly, eventually adopting him as something of a benevolent grandfather. The illustrations in this graphic novel are simple yet eloquen...more
Quick review: While the content and storyline of this graphic novel was smart, I wasn't impressed with its execution or the artwork. Transitions between sections seemed jumpy, even within chapters, and elements of the storyline that could have been really meaningful were either touched on too briefly or conflicts were resolved too easily. The artwork never grabbed me and was too simple for my liking, and the images that spanned two pages were often gulped up in the middle by the binding so that...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book is focused more on text than the art. I feel like this would have been better as a novel. It' the typical teenage angst type of book. this unfortunately made all the non-family member characters flat characters. Subplots are friendship seem to get dropped to quickly or forgotten until later. Reza appeared on like 3 pages, so his importance in the end came out of nowhere. The story narrative need to be tightened up. There were some interesting parallel between Tina and other characters b...more
This smart, graphic novel will appeal to budding philosophers seeking to answer life's existential questions: Who am I? What purpose can I find in my life? How am I "to be" in this confusing world?

Tina, the diary's first-person protagonist sits on her "bench of existential solitude" pondering her life and how to complete her honors English existentialism project. While other students choose to record the contents of the family fridge and refuse, Tina writes a diary to none other than Jean Paul...more
I am a sucker for witty graphic novels with a female protagonist that don't involve random threesomes. Even if Tina's Mouth had a threesome in it, I think would be more awesome than the rest because the writing is hilarious. Tina's family moved to California from India before she was born, and even though her parents raised her like an upper middle lass white girl, some of the homeland vestiges linger e.g. saris at weekend parties, and matchmakers.

Tina's best friend, Alex, "dumps" her when she g...more
I just blew through this in about an hour. I didn't want to put it down, because it was cute and interesting and reminds me of something that I would have written or done when I was in high school. I like that the art style was consistent with the fact that Tina is a teenage girl, and not something completely mind-bending that didn't match the writing.

Given that I can no longer read books without the feminist lens, though, I was disappointed with how Tina made it a point to declare that she was...more
This book is good but not great, and falls somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, but I gave it 4 stars, because this book rang true in terms of its descriptions of high schoolers, teenagers and family, and was even a little bit reflective of my high school experiences, which rarely happens. Tina's Mouth has enough self-deprecating humor that the book doesn't come off, at least not to me, as extremely pretentious, despite the fact that the main character reads philosophy books during her "freep" (free...more
This was very entertaining and it took me no time to get through. The art is nice and simple. I liked the discussions of philosophy in it, even if they were very simplified. Tina said a few judgmental things that bothered me, she also did a little slut shaming but overall I liked her as a character. She was smart and confused at the same time and reading about her dealing with the different relationships in her life was interesting. I also like how the author includes bits about other characters...more
I liked the central conceit of the book, and a lot of things about it were well executed. The sense of place was nicely specific. I found page 147 hysterical, and in general the send-ups of various forms of pretension were witty and novel. But the book didn't really gel for me, largely because the narrator struck me as ingenuine - it read like a 20-something trying to sound like a teenager, and was consequently much flatter than the actual voice of a teenager. That kind of blandness is a killer...more
Naadira bieber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was a fun read with its juxtaposition of existentialism over a coming-of-age story. Tina is an Indian-American girl attending a new-agey California high school. Tina's first kiss ends up being during a rehearsal for her school's performance of Rashomon where she gets to play the lead female character! If you don't find that darkly comical, you probably won't enjoy most of the humor. There's sort of an endearing klutziness to the layout/artwork that make it feel like a diary and there's...more
Tina has to do an unusual project for her Existential Philosophy class, so she writes/draws a journal to Jean Paul Sartre, father of existentialism. A great addition to the graphic canon. Funny in a deep way.
lucy by the sea
The story is ok, pretty generic but good. I loved the drawing style, inky and eyebrowish.
A solid book about identity, friendship and love. Really loved the art.
I thought this was a clever and well written story of an Indian-American teen girl trying to navigate the treacherous waters of high school and her place in the world. The book did a marvelous job of introducing philosophy to the reader, not as a tedious set of abstractions but as a means of self-discovery. The eponymous heroine is smart and funny and endearing as she negotiates the constant changes in her relationships with family and friends. I would recommend this to just about anyone who enj...more
I've been really into books with illustrations so that was my point of interest about this book. I wanted to see a story where language and drawings complemented each other and told me a story I enjoyed.

In that regard the story succeeded. Tina is a sophomore at a fancy private school in California who loses her sole best friend to a popular fashionable girl and feels out to sea. But a school assignment in her favorite class leads to a journal addressed to Jean-Paul Sartre and featuring existenti...more
Tina is having a period of existential solitude. She's just been "dumped" by her best friend and now sits alone at lunch. She has trouble identifying with her classmates, who all seem to fit into neat, tidy groups, and her large Indian-American family. She begins keeping a diary as part of her English Honors project and addresses her entries to the existential heavyweight, Jean-Paul Sartre. Tina finds herself stepping out of her comfort zone to take a break from her solitude. She ends up starrin...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
First of all, I feel the need to emphasize how much I wish I could have gone to a high school with classes specifically on existentialism and Russian literature. I went to a good high school, but not that good. Also, I am super envious of her project being to write a journal that the teacher has promised not to open and read. He must, though, right? Otherwise, I bet about half of the students who had chosen that project wrote nothing.

Anyway, I loved this. Tina was a really believable heroine, su...more
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Last week, while browsing through the teen graphic novel section (Why are graphic novels always shelved in the teen section?), I came across this lovely blue-cover title that I remember hearing about from somewhere sometime but didn't know anything about. Books like that usually rate higher with me - maybe the serendipity of picking a random book and not knowing anything about it always keeps me guessing through the end of the book, since I never know what to expect.

When I opened the book for th...more
Sharon Tyler
Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap is a young adult graphic novel released on January 3 2012. This story follows one high school student's take on life and love through the lense of an existential diary she is keeping for a school project. Tina M. is a sophomore at a private school, Yarborough Academy. She is the youngest in her Southern California intellectual Indian family and does not really feel that she has a place in any single group. Through the journal, complete w...more
Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap and Mari Araki (illustrator) breaks all sorts of boundaries. The novel is an interesting specimen of alternative narration that is sure to appeal to contemporary teens and young adults. Though ostensibly a graphic novel, it straddles the fence between an illustrated novel and a true graphic novel. The illustrations are fun and breezy and I especially love the way the characters have been drawn. Tina has a long-suffering expression on her face which fits in perfectl...more
Kelsey Moak
This was a funny, light read about a California high school girl named Tina who has a rough start to her sophomore year when her best friend since childhood dumps her (explaining that Tina hasn't had enough "experiences"). Suddenly left without any friends or a group to identify with, Tina sets out to answer the classic existential question: Who am I? When most people look at her all they see is an Indian girl - they assume she knows all about Buddhism and where the best Indian restaurants are....more
I liked this book alright. I wasn't sure whether the drawings were purposefully subpar because they were supposedly drawn by a high-schooler, or just kind of crappy. Anyway. The printed font text didn't always flow with the drawings, either. And for some reason, I never fully approve of a comic that was written and drawn by two separate people. Books with illustrations, fine, but a comic . . . it's just weird. If you're into comics, you just make your comic. The whole thing. So it was weird; the...more
I'm not a comic book reader. When I picked up this book for a class, I expected to feel lukewarm about it, but didn't prove to be the case. I loved every minute of this book. I liked the mostly realistic illustrations and the almost apathetic and relatably honest tone of the book. The writing is superb and the illustrations greatly enhance the story.

The story is about a high school wallflower, Tina, who is keeping a journal for an assignment in her existentialism class. She addresses the journa...more
Appeal Characteristics visualization, Indian-American culture, California, identity, coming of age, philosophy, high school, friendship, relationships, family relationship, love, heartbreak, social issues

I found the universe of myself in this book. It took me a pleasant (and not so pleasant) stroll down high school memory lane where popular issues included: crushes, teachers, parents, siblings, and FRIENDS. That big question of what happens when your your high school buddy finds a new group to h...more
GRPLTeens Grand Rapids Public Library
Appeal Characteristics visualization, Indian-American culture, California, identity, coming of age, philosophy, high school, friendship, relationships, family relationship, love, heartbreak, social issues

I found the universe of myself in this book. It took me a pleasant (and not so pleasant) stroll down high school memory lane where popular issues included: crushes, teachers, parents, siblings, and FRIENDS. That big question of what happens when your your high school buddy finds a new group to h...more
Lisa Kohn
I have just finished reading TINA’S MOUTH and my head remains filled with Tina’s quirky charming voice. She is the kind of character who you remember, and when you are in life situations you wonder, what would Tina say or think here. Her naive love story is sweet, tragic, and funny all at the same time, making it very true to the teenage experience. Secondary characters in the book, like Tina’s brother and sister are especially well drawn, and their parallel stories help to better illuminate Tin...more
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Born in Singapore and raised in Los Angeles, Keshni Kashyap is an author, screenwriter and filmmaker whose films have screened in over forty festivals around the world.

Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is her first book and a collaboration with Los Angeles-based Japanese painter Mari Araki.

She lives in Los Angeles where she writes for film and TV and is at work o...more
More about Keshni Kashyap...

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“In Sartre's hell, there are no torture devices, no devils. Just the INABILITY to become the person that you are.” 0 likes
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