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Blue Is the Warmest Color

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Blue 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.

156 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2010

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About the author

Jul Maroh

12 books328 followers
Jul Maroh (born 1985) is an author and illustrator originally from northern France. They studied comic art at the Institute Saint-Luc in Brussels and lithography and engraving at the Royal Academy of Arts in Brussels, where they still live.

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5 stars
10,341 (32%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,325 reviews
Profile Image for Ilse.
456 reviews2,946 followers
April 30, 2023
Perhaps matronly women shouldn’t read graphic novels about loves at tender age. Perhaps they shouldn’t read soul-peircing stories like this. Perhaps this knocks down their finest defences, their carefully constructed barricades of cynism and despair.

Happy people have no stories. Paraphrasing Tolstoy, all happy loves are the same, each unhappy love is unhappy in its own way. And evidently, it will end in tears. Sob you will, dear reader.

Reading this dreamy graphic novel, a flood of sad songs, poems and stories came to my mind, so many variations on the infinite theme Il n’y pas d’amour heureux. This song, so poignantly performed by Georges Brassens, and inspired by the eponymous poem by Louis Aragon could be an anthem to this moving graphic novel:

Rien n'est jamais acquis à l'homme Ni sa force
Ni sa faiblesse ni son coeur Et quand il croit
Ouvrir ses bras son ombre est celle d'une croix
Et quand il veut serrer son bonheur il le broie
Sa vie est un étrange et douloureux divorce
Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux

Sa vie Elle ressemble à ces soldats sans armes
Qu'on avait habillés pour un autre destin
A quoi peut leur servir de se lever matin
Eux qu'on retrouve au soir désarmés incertains
Dites ces mots Ma vie Et retenez vos larmes
Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux

Mon bel amour mon cher amour ma déchirure
Je te porte dans moi comme un oiseau blessé
Et ceux-là sans savoir nous regardent passer
Répétant après moi ces mots que j'ai tressés
Et qui pour tes grands yeux tout aussitôt moururent
Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux

Le temps d'apprendre à vivre il est déjà trop tard
Que pleurent dans la nuit nos coeurs à l'unisson
Ce qu'il faut de regrets pour payer un frisson
Ce qu'il faut de malheur pour la moindre chanson
Ce qu'il faut de sanglots pour un air de guitare
Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux.

Is blue the warmest colour? To Clémentine, the touchingly charming, puppy-eyed teenage girl who falls in love with Emma, a liberated young lesbian activist art student, blue-haired and blue-eyed, it certainly is.

With its magical title and the inventive use of a minimalistic color scheme, the novel beautifully illustrates our very individual perception of colours. Many people consider blue a cold and masculine color, while it used to be also a feminine, warm colour, representing the celestial, the venerable, during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The garments of the Virgin Mary were painted with the most expensive of all blue pigments, ultramarine blue, made from grounded lapis lazuli. Stained glass in the gothic cathedrals had to be blue. Blue flames are warmer than red flames, blue is the more passionate. Expressionist painters adored blue, using the radiant shades for the powerful expression of moods and emotions. In Picasso’s blue period blue equals melancholy. For Kandinsky, blue was the colour of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakened human desire for the eternal. The French artist Yves Klein, to whom “colour is sensibility in material form, matter in its primordial state”, the colour blue was everything, even patenting the blue he invented for his Proposition Monochrome; Blue Epoch in 1957 and granting a cosmic, meditative dimension to it: “I had left the visible, physical blue at the door, outside, in the street. The real blue was inside, the blue of the profundity of space, the blue of my kingdom, of our kingdom!


The history on the perception and significance of colours, and of blue, through the ages and in different cultures, in art, religion and literature, is fascinating. In Romanticism (Novalis), blue stands for the dream, the immenseness of longing, the remoteness of the ideal. Ideal love is blue, like Emma’s hair and eyes. So when Emma’s hair has become ‘ordinary’ blonde instead of blue at the moment she is living together for years with Clémentine, Maroh tells something about their love too.

Roses are roses. Blue is blue.”God knows I’m good but does he care? I’m sure somebody down there hates me”. She says as she…she says as she picks up a flower, for love is like a flower. It grows, blossoms and blooms. But love is just a word and words disobey. And roses are roses. (Gavin Friday, Love is Just a Word (Each man kills the thing he loves (1989)).
Profile Image for Warwick.
824 reviews14.5k followers
June 23, 2013
One of the films I saw at Cannes this year was La Vie d'Adèle (in English, Blue is the Warmest Colour), which eventually and deservedly won the Palme d'Or. I was a little obsessed with it – I dreamed about the film for two nights after I saw it, and I was still going over it in my head weeks later.

One person who was not a fan, though, was Julie Maroh, the author of the original comic book. She said the sex scenes in the film were ‘ridiculous’ and had been ‘turned into porn’, and she complained about the fact that the two lead actresses were not lesbians in real life – which seems a silly objection really, since it's impossible to imagine anyone on earth playing the title role better than Adèle Exarchopoulos.

This isn't a film review so I'm not going to go into that, but it did make me really want to read the BD – even though it's always complicated coming to a book after you've seen the film adaptation. With that proviso in mind, I really loved this. It's sometimes described as a coming-out story, which it kind of is, or as a lesbian romance, which it kind of is – but its qualities convince you that such categories seem petty. It's just a very moving love story.

What makes it work so well is the central character of Clémentine, who is utterly charming – wide-eyed and unsure, but also prone to making lots of silly mistakes. At the start of the book she's just 15, struggling with homework and playground cliques, fighting with her parents, slouching around dreary Lille in her hoodie. She can't seem to make things work with her boyfriend Thomas. And then, one day, she meets someone who makes her feel everything she hasn't felt with him – a girl with blue hair….

The visual style is very effective, much more artful and interesting in many ways than the film. The blue of Emma's hair becomes such a icon of Clémentine's life that other colours seem bland and washed-out, and only blue objects stand out, all of them aides-memoires for the new and overwhelming feelings rushing through her.

The comic has more Tragedy! and Melodrama! than the film, but it's still very moving – a beautiful portrait of first love in all its excitement and confusion. Since the Cannes win, an English translation has been rushed into print, so hopefully Maroh's work will be as widely read as it deserves to be.
Profile Image for Federico DN.
350 reviews617 followers
February 3, 2023
Love, as an indefinable gender-free miracle.

In this graphic novel we learn the story of "Clementine", an innocent sixteen year old schoolgirl. Clementine believes she is straight, but when she meets "Emma", everything begins to change. Blue hair, blue eyes, blue aura spreading all over her life. Her heart, her body, and everything within her is shaken to a world completely unknown before. Unable to understand her new found feelings, every emotional part of her begins to fall apart. Slowly, and painfully, Clementine starts the difficult process of coming out, and come to terms with her new sexuality. But her friends and family are not really supportive, and Emma is not really single.

A beautiful short graphic novel about the painful hardships of coming out, overcoming the prejudices of the inner circle, and the ultimately acceptance of our own sexuality. Moving, tearful, enlightening; a truly unique read.

**** The movie is superb adaptation. Maybe even a major improvement on the graphic novel. Some very big changes were made to the original plot, but masterfully executed. Most of the praising goes to the outstanding heartbreaking performance of Adèle Exarchopoulos, and an exceptional Léa Seydoux. It may have been a little bit too excessive on the graphicness of the sex scenes, sure, but leaving that aside, a perfect drama in almost every way, truly deserving of the Palme d'Or.

[2010] [156p] [Comics] [Recommendable]

El amor, como un indefinible milagro libre de género.

En esta novela gráfica conocemos la historia de "Clementine", una inocente niña de colegio de dieciséis años. Clementine cree que es heterosexual, pero cuando conoce a "Emma", todo empieza a cambiar. Cabello azul, ojos azules, un aura azul que empieza a desparramarse sobre toda su vida. Su corazón, su cuerpo, y todo dentro de ella es sacudido a un mundo antes completamente desconocido. Incapaz de entender sus nuevos sentimientos, cada parte emocional de ella empieza a derrumbarse. Lenta, y dolorosamente, Clementine empieza el dificultuoso proceso de salir del clóset, y tratar de aceptar su nueva sexualidad. Pero sus amigos y familia no son realmente receptivos, y Emma no está realmente soltera.

Una hermosa corta novela gráfica sobre las dolorosas dificultades de salir del clóset, la superación de los prejuicios del círculo cercano, y la aceptación final de nuestra propia sexualidad. Conmovedora, lagrimeante, reveladora; una lectura verdaderamente única.

**** La película es una adaptación sobresaliente. Tal vez incluso una gran mejora sobre la novela gráfica. Algunos cambios muy grandes se hicieron sobre la trama original, pero magistralmente ejecutados. La mayor parte de los laureses se los lleva la extremadamente conmovedora actuación de una magnífica Adèle Exarchopoulos, y una excepcional Léa Seydoux. Tal vez haya sido un poco excesivamente explícita en las escenas de sexo, sí, pero dejando eso de lado, un drama perfecto en casi cualquier sentido, realmente merecedora del Palme d'Or.

[2010] [156p] [Comics] [Recomendable]
Profile Image for Riley.
427 reviews21.1k followers
August 27, 2016
This was beautiful and heartbreaking. Not only was the story incredible but the artwork was masterful. Definitely recommend to anyone, regardless if you enjoy graphic novels.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
916 reviews13.9k followers
September 2, 2017
This book is a MASTERPIECE. I'm never particular about the art in graphic novels, but this is the most beautifully-illustrated graphic novel I have ever read. That, combined with the lesbian rep, the message, and this coming of age story full of angst and true love and tragedy gripped me until the very last page. I think this is the first graphic novel I've cried over. I cannot wait to track down the movie adaptation to watch it, because I'm sure it will be just as great. I cannot highly recommend this enough!
Profile Image for Leah.
52 reviews82 followers
October 10, 2013
I opened to the first page while on my lunch break at my brand new job, and abruptly closed it on page 3. "I can't cry in front of these people, I barely know them," I thought, while chowing on my sub, holding my tears in my lower lid. Sometimes you open up a book and say "ah, fuck" cause you know it's gonna be like that.

The first half of this book is perfect, and I never call anything perfect. The artwork is stellar, Clementine's pain, confusion and excitement is so real and palpable. I saw myself in her when I was 15 in every page. Furthermore, it was perfectly timed. From the size of this book, you'd think there would be a sequel.

Midway through the book, it feels like Maroh got bored with this story and rushed it. We don't really get into Emma's head at all, which is a fatal flaw in so many love stories. I understand Clementine, I have no idea what drew Emma to her. One page Clementine is 17, and then the next she is 30. Literally. The story ends shortly after that. Blink and you miss the intended climax, downward spiral, the whole end.

3.5 stars. Hopefully Maroh will pull a Kill Bill and put all of the substance she missed into a second volume.
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
May 9, 2016
Blue is the Warmest Color was one of my favorite graphic novels of last year. It was a quiet story that crept up on me. It doesn't use a lot of words or flash to get the message across. What starts out as a coming of age story centered around a young girl finding herself and falling in love, turns into a realistic and at times heartbreaking story of love and hardship. I really enjoyed this story, and it is one of the only graphic novels that brought me to tears. This story is best when it's gone into blind. I can completely understand all of the acclaim and praise that it gets.This review was originally posted on Thoughts on Tomes
Profile Image for Anna (Bananas).
393 reviews
March 18, 2014
*huff* I'm disappointed. It was goodish. It felt so dramatic though and in a contrived way. God, I really wanted to like this more.

I didn't feel a connection between the main characters. Even the way they meet had a hint of instalove. However, I can understand and appreciate being inexplicably drawn to a person and even feeling like they're going to be meaningful to your life before you really know them. Their relationship needed fleshing out though. We barely got to know them and all the absurd obstacles they ecountered (created) didn't help the story.

BUT Valentin was sweet and genuine. His friendship with Clementine was weightier than the romance imo. They had some beautiful moments.

The art is lovely. Most of the book is done in a sepia tone with flashes of blue accents. When the artist does use her full pallete of colors it's beautiful, but the simplicity of the sepia is very appealing.
Profile Image for Athena ღ.
242 reviews143 followers
May 8, 2018
"Love may not be eternal, but it can make us eternal."
Profile Image for Ines.
320 reviews193 followers
December 22, 2019
‘’Only love will save the world. Why would I be ashamed to love?’’

Wow this graphic novel, it’s a crazy hit!!.... on so many aspects I saw myself when I was also that' age.. ; I don’t want to go into details, but in a particular period of my life I have lived Clem's patemas. ( who knows why at that time the great desire to become a psychiatrist was born in me) however it presents itself as a very strong story, perhaps extreme..... I have not seen there the classic tenderness of adolescent love.
The graphic exposition was not always very clear, I do not deny to have worked hard to understand who was the one and who was the other character ( at the beginning they all seemed the same!) I was very impressed by the rejection of Clem’s friends, Perhaps it is the only aspect a little pulled, but I can understand that in 1993 many young boys and girls were still suspicious of homosexuality.
A Book not to be missed! ( , many years ago i watched the movie but i was not very impressed, the book is outstanding)

Caspita che Graphic novel, è un colpo pazzesco!!....su tantissimi aspetti mi sono rivista quando avevo anch' io quell' età..; non voglio scendere nei particolari, ma in un breve periodo della mia vita ho vissuto molti dei patemi di Emma. ( chissà perchè proprio in quel periodo è nata in me il grande desiderio di diventare psichiatra) comunque si presenta come una storia molto forte, forse estrema.....non ci ho visto la classica tenerezza dell' innamoramento adolescenziale.
L' esposizione grafica non sempre era chiarissima, non nego di aver faticato non poco a capire chi era l'una e chi era l' altro personaggio ( all' inizio mi sembravano tutti uguali!) Mi ha colpito molto il rifiuto delle amiche di Clem, forse è l'unico aspetto un filino tirato, ma posso capire che nel 1993 tanti ragazzi fossero ancora sospettosi nei confronti dell' omosessualità.
Da non perdere!
Profile Image for Calista.
3,873 reviews31.2k followers
February 10, 2018
This is translated into English from France. It has a French feel to me. I felt the characters were real and the struggle was authentic for the characters. I enjoyed the art and I love how that blue hair pops out. It sets a consistent tone with the art and story. This was apparently a movie. Now I want to see it. I hear the movie ends better and is more graphic.

I felt like this story showed the intimacy the two girls share from flirtation to sex with each other. I like seeing that love grow. I am not a fan of the ending. I mean, it looks like she took a few pills and all the sudden she is dying. I don't buy it at 30 years old. It feels forced to get that death for the ending to tug on the heart strings. How crappy to do this to Emma who was cheated on and now she can't be angry because this girl is dying. Oh well, I thought the ending was cheesy. I thought the love story was real and it touched my heart. Once they hit 30, the book gets silly and ridiculous to pump up the drama. I'm not impressed or touched by it. Nope. I'm giving it 4 stars for the love shared between them for most of the book.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 2 books710 followers
January 24, 2022
The film adaptation of this graphic novel, which I watched a few years back, remains one of my favourite movies of all time. This was my first time reading Maroh's book, and while I wasn't disappointed as such, I do think the movie did the story far greater justice. The novel suffered from bouts of intense melodrama, and was far too short to fully embrace the story of a young woman's coming of age. I'm glad I read it, but remain far more grateful for the film.
Profile Image for Jillian .
431 reviews1,778 followers
February 8, 2016
This was incredibly moving and just a beautiful story about a love that transcends gender and sexuality. I loved this and it is one of my favorite graphic novels that I've read. I highly highly recommend this. Warning though there are mature scenes in this one.
Profile Image for Nasia.
359 reviews83 followers
December 10, 2017
Το πολύ γλυκό κόμιξ πάνω στο οποίο βασίστηκε η γνωστή ταινία. Coming of age, ευαίσθητο και συγκινητικό.
Profile Image for Scott.
1,745 reviews123 followers
September 6, 2019
"Teen problems seem trivial to other people. But when you're alone and smack in the middle of one, how are you supposed to know what to do?" -- Clementine, the story's protagonist, on page 13

In Maroh's Blue is the Warmest Color Clementine is - to quote the standard lyric - sixteen-going-on-seventeen, seemingly and quietly going through late adolescence on autopilot when, out of the blue (haha), she has a chance encounter with the bohemian art student Emma. Quickly realizing that her orientation may not be exclusive to just dating young men, Clementine then goes through some of the usual literary but no less heartrending plot complications (she's harshly 'de-friended' by fellow classmates; she has to hide her actions from her parents, etc. -- it should be noted that the story is set mostly during the mid-90's, showing the difference that 20 years can make in the now more-enlightened LGBTQ acceptance era) before she and Emma are finally an item. I think you have to have an absolute heart of stone not to be happy once the two of them settle into a blissful romantic relationship. "Je t'aime!" indeed, as it's cried out at a certain climactic moment by Clementine. ;-)

Though the storyline felt reminiscent at times of both Sylvia Brownrigg's Pages For You and Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain (the present-day opening of Blue seemed to deliberately echo the final moments of Brokeback) it was still involving and entertaining drama. Maroh's unique illustration style - the gangly bodies, tousled hair and expressive eyes of the young adult main characters gave it an air of authenticity - was also a plus. However, like many other reviewers I also thought that the tragic ending went a little sideways. It's not that it was bad or unbelievable, just . . . . well, I don't know. Still, when Blue worked - which was most of the time - it was a really effective graphic novel.
Profile Image for Asghar Abbas.
Author 4 books188 followers
July 3, 2021

I have seen the film, of course. It was everything they say it is, every award lobbed at it, well deserved. It was an event no doubt, a motion picture in the truest sense of the word. It was something different, refreshing.

I let it wreck me. It was so glorious, even with its glaringly obvious flaws and the fact that it was lacking somehow in some crucial way. Maybe it's the ending, that was really dissatisfying for me. Something seemed to be missing overall. Despite all this, I knowingly went into this story again. I let the graphic novel break my heart again, the story was lovingly poignant. I'd say it's a work of art about a work of art.

So was this graphic novel about what it was so obviously about, at least at a casual glance. Well folks, lemme answer it this way.

I remember talking to my brother Hasan a while ago about story structures, we were discussing animations and illustrators, what goes around in the fundamentals of storytelling. He posited that whether it's the books, movies, animation, music, whatever, all the stories are rooted in and can be traced back to one thing, the love aspect of it. He argued that all stories at their core are love stories. There is a certain truth to that. I would add one thing though. All love stories are basically horror. They make monsters of us all.

So, in that sense, Blue is the Warmest Color was a love story indeed. I was reading this and it didn't even occur to me this was a gay love story, certainly that side of it was handled with more care here than the movie. To me, this wasn't about sexual orientation, but rather finding your own sexuality and accepting it without shame, as we all should.

It's a story between two girls, they just happened to be gay. That's oversimplification I know but the graphic novel at least wasn't trying to make any statements. Sure, trying to bring awareness was a part of it, but not all of it. It's the impact of this story that makes you reel, not the dogma of any ideology. The love between them so mutual, so compelling, so devastating by the end, was not without problems. But it grounded them and that love buttresses us mere readers as well. The book is better in other words. So much better. This was more about finding that person who brings out the you in you, while making you feel safe within the you that is you. You wanna give that chance encounter a name or call it fate, that's up to you.

It was also about trying to keep that person, hold onto them a little while longer, without fucking up too much. Astride and wreathed in that flowery mess.

The movie deviated from the book but that's to be expected. There are some major changes here of course. Though the original turning point in the source material wasn't very original. It was rather stale, overused, and even clichéd. But it is done with such finesse that you can't help but give it a pass.

Clem was the heart of both mediums, so natural in them but that's not what was surprising here. It's Emma who moved me. And breathed something into me. She was so kind here, more real so much more human in this version. In the movie, she is a bit mean, secretive, with unclear motives, and way too fantastical. Here she is just a person. We can see why Clem feels what she feels for her and why she is loved in return by Emma.

None of the movie's graphic sex scenes come from this, they personally took me out of this heartfelt story and were generally unnecessary. You have to understand, the book is short, so subtle and nuanced, nothing is spelled out, no key points stressed upon, lots of proper showing and definitely no rookie telling mistakes here. The whole thing is very creative. The point is, all the flaws come from the movie not the book. A usual book lover's mantra, I suppose, true in this case. But it is not the warble we are uttering here.

What I did find so disconcerting was how even in the mid-90s, when the story begins, France, in general, was so homophobic and closed-minded. That was shocking. I always assumed, I know I shouldn't do that, the French were the pioneers of human indulgences. Or maybe they were just into straight hedonism. But that couldn't possibly be true. Or maybe given mankind's history maybe we shouldn't succumb to stereotypes so much. I know I shouldn't.

In any case, this was one of the most beautiful fucking things ever. I absolutely adore it, love it so much. It's amazing. Wow. Everything, the characters, illustrations, and the surfeit feelings, such universal feelings.

All in all, most of all, how I wish I had read this when I was writing about Iva Gyongy. This elicited all kinds of things. This woke something in me.

Read it. Let it burn you. Exhaust you into slumber. And finish everything on you.

But remember, it is the blue that is making me go, while the colorless is urging me to stay.

Profile Image for Erika.
75 reviews129 followers
September 8, 2016
I picked up this graphic novel largely because of Ilse and Warwick's very different— but equally fascinating—reviews and was not disappointed.

First, there’s the physical book itself. I don’t know if this is normal with graphic novels, but the weight of the book is exceptionally pleasing to the hand. The paper is thick and heavy and bright white, and turning each page is a sensual experience, just like the story itself.

The illustrations are wonderful, especially when it comes to Clementine the main character. Clem is an adolescent: impulsive and melodramatic but also thoroughly endearing. She’s our eyes and ears on this ride, and author Julie Maroh renders Clem’s body and facial expressions with such perfect sensitivity that she feels like a well-known and much-beloved relative. The only complaint I have is that a lot of the story comes from pages of Clem’s diary and the small, cursive font makes it hard to read.

So onto the plot itself. When Clementine meets Emma, a slightly older artist with punky blue hair, she falls fast and hard. Clem is ashamed of her attraction to a woman and never saw herself as a lesbian, but those things start to matter less as the relationship deepens. For Clem, love, sex, and intimacy are all new and overwhelmingly intense and Maroh perfectly captures how that feels.

Yet the novel has weakness as well. So much delicious time is spent on how these two fell in love, but in a section years later when they’re having problems the story is too short, rushed, and confusing. This throws off the entire arc of the relationship and Clem’s actions as a 30-year old make absolutely no sense without more explanation. Also—and this is a small thing—I wish Maroh had humanized Clem’s parent’s more rather than making them stock figures of middle class homophobia. They drive a key plot point forward, and I wanted to understand them better.

Interestingly, the movie version, which I also loved, solves all of these problems. It’s a different medium granted, but more attention is paid to that later section so that the beautiful and sad trajectory of this relationship is fully realized.

Both the book and the movie have extended, graphic sex scenes. On the printed page those moments are erotic and packed with emotion. In the film, they are much too long (7 minutes!) and felt a little porny to me. Still, I would recommend both the book and the movie since they are each singular visions that illuminates the other.
Profile Image for Tamoghna Biswas.
269 reviews107 followers
January 4, 2021
“Now tell me, briefly, what the word ‘homosexuality’ means to you, in your own words."

"Love flowers pearl, of delighted arms. Warm and water. Melting of vanilla wafer in the pants. Pink petal roses trembling overdew on the lips, soft and juicy fruit. No teeth. No nasty spit. Lips chewing oysters without grimy sand or whiskers. Pastry. Gingerbread. Warm, sweet bread. Cinnamon toast poetry. Justice equality higher wages. Independent angel song. It means I can do what I want.”

― Judy Grahn, Edward the Dyke and Other Poems

I won’t have come across this one if it wasn’t for the 2013 adaptation that had travelled the Cannes. The movie, sadly is less known for it’s melancholy, than the sensual romance… as most of the brilliant and authentic romantic movies (they don’t make many of them) are doomed to be. I wanted to draw a par on this with Call Me By Your Name… but though they are very much the same in essence they are very different on the visible levels, and also you can scarcely compare between a graphic novel and a novel, so thought better of it.

It has been said that the novel took around five years to complete, and just after looking at the images, it can’t be more obvious why. It’s quite a relief to the eyes, amidst the brilliant yet over-coloured comics that are quite the opposite for its quaint yet arid sketches. The story can be called a bit cliché like many other young-adult romances, perhaps you’ve even read almost the same story beforehand, still the pessimistic poignance stands out quite often. Also, the author kept it simple enough… despite one of the protagonists getting involved in the LGBT Movement directly. A bit overdosing on the visual symbolism which is undoubtedly impossible to go amiss…seeing the blue so many times. What we came across is Pablo Picasso’s references, who had gone through the melancholic Blue Period himself. And how it fades away…so you see, nothing is at all irrelevant.

A bit blissfully, the novel wasn’t as overweighting on the sexual content as the movie, but still it’s a bit more than needed, I felt. Still, I go by what David Stratton said about the movie: “If the film were just a series of sex scenes it would, of course, be problematic, but it's much, much more than that. Through the eyes of Adèle (Clementine in the novel) we experience the breathless excitement of first love and first physical contact, but then, inevitably, all the other experiences that make life the way it is... All of these are beautifully documented.

Heart-wrenching? Not quite. But it will definitely move you. It makes quite a change to read about a serious issue (as in the struggles that led to the movement) in an unconventionally original way. It’s just that I went in with that sort of high expectations that aren’t easy to meet, other than that, the novel is a brilliant quick read.

“What's your orientation?"
"That's not an orientation!!!"
"It is in the Orient.”
Profile Image for Marilena ⚓.
602 reviews76 followers
June 4, 2018
Η αγάπη εκρήγνυται,πεθαίνει,τσακίζεται,μας τσακίζει,ανασταίνεται,μας ανασταίνει.
Η αγάπη μπορεί να μην είναι αιώνια,αλλά κάνει εμάς αιώνιους
Profile Image for Dennis.
659 reviews269 followers
August 3, 2019
Deeply moving, powerful, tragic, sensitive, relevant.

Those are the first words that came to my mind after I'd finished this book.

For years I've been a fan of the movie. So it was about time to read the Graphic Novel which it is based upon.


The story is about two girls falling in love and having to deal with the expectations and prejudices of their families and friends. Though this mostly applies to Clementine, the younger of the two.
Contrary to Emma, who's a few years older and lucky enough to have an understanding family, she's not yet made up her mind about her sexual orientation. So this is a story about coming into one's own as well as coming out and growing up in an environment where people do not understand or just outright condemn you.

It's a story about first love, self-doubt, finding your place in this sometimes cruel world, insecurity, sexual awakening and dealing with the loss of a beloved person.


It was a very emotional read, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

So what's preventing me from giving it 5 stars?

First of all, there's the art. I didn't like at first how the characters are drawn in this. Especially facial expressions were often too cartoony for my liking. The style grew on me after some time, but never to the point where I felt more than indifferent towards it.

The coloring on the other hand is just perfect. It's predominantly black and white with important persons or objects sticking out, being colored in blue (Emma's hair being the most dominant feature here). The coloring also changes significantly between the parts that are told retrospectively (most of the story is told through Emma reading Clementine's diary) and the ones which are closer to the present (the tale covers a time period of roughly 15 years).

Time is the second reason I deduct a star. Both the movie and the book have pacing issues. But they are quite different. The movie is focusing on Emma's and Adèle's (Clementine in the book) relationship, while the book is much more concerned with Clementine’s coming-out. The movie subsequently moves way too fast in the beginning, rushing through a lot of things that are quite important in the book. The book on the other hand just skips eleven years in the end and gives us very little insight concerning the everyday grind that’s ultimately young love’s (potential) downfall.

I would like to have seen more in both cases. But while the movie is already three hours long and I get why it would be hard to add more (even though I would be willing to watch it), why not just add 50 more pages to the Graphic Novel? I don’t quite understand that. In my opinion, especially towards the end it would have benefited from some extra material.

The Graphic Novel ends differently to the movie, btw. I'm not quite sure which ending I like more. But they definitely both had an impact on me. Though in very different ways.

One thing that's irrelevant to my rating, but worth mentioning: The German translation, while mostly decent, has some cringeworthy moments. But that's not the author's fault. At least I can't imagine the original including a sentence like "Oh mein Gott, ihr Geschlecht auf meinem Geschlecht." (Paraphrasing here. The book is already back at the library.)

If you've got the opportunity to read the original, I'd recommend that. Unfortunately my French nowadays is somewhere between very bad and non-existent and my library did not have the English translation.

All in all, very good and touching. Though I do like the movie better.
Interestingly, according to the afterword (not written by the author herself), Julie Maroh does not like the movie, because in her opinion the sex scenes are very unrealistic. And like most critics she deems the movie to be pornographic.

Now who am I to challenge Julie Maroh in that statement!? I won't do that.

But what I'd like to say is that just like the main reason for me to almost fall in love with this Graphic Novel wasn't the sex scenes, the reason for me loving the movie is not the sex scenes either. It's just not the main point.

For me, this is first and foremost a story about love and growing up.

And it is a wonderful and tragic one.


Recommended! (both, the movie and the book)


I love love love the movie!

Will this be just as great? Please be great, book!

Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
February 10, 2017
“ Love may not be eternal but, it can make us eternal.”

Very happy I found this in my library. I've only ever seen the movie trailer and didn't know it was a comic adaption.
Now, I don't really know what to tell you about it, so just go read it yourself. It's beautiful and sad and you're gonna suffer, but you're gonna be happy about it.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for Nat.
553 reviews3,177 followers
April 5, 2016
“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…”

I picked this up completely on a whim and flew through it in a single sitting! The artwork in this graphic novel is absolutely stunning.
It was heartwarming and cute and it was just what I wanted after finishing Stars Above

This review and more can be found on my blog.
Profile Image for Thomas.
236 reviews71 followers
February 17, 2018
Βαθμολογία: ★★★★★

Όταν είδα την ταινία πριν μερικά χρόνια, το δεύτερο μισό μου φάνηκε ανούσιο και παράταιρο. Χαίρομαι που στο κόμικ η υπόθεση παίρνει άλλη τροπή, αν και πιο τραγική. Το «Μπλε» είναι τόσο τρυφερό και συναισθηματικό που πήγα να το ξεφυλλίσω και τελικά το διάβασα μονορούφι. Το σχέδιο και τα χρώματα στιλ νερομπογιάς (μαντέψτε ποιο χρώμα κυριαρχεί) πραγματικά αναδεικνύουν το έργο. Ελπίζω να μεταφραστούν κι άλλα έργα της Julie Maroh.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,376 reviews2,249 followers
August 27, 2018
My first venture into graphic novels, that was only really bought on by watching the Palme d'Or winning film of 2013 (which I found astonishing, sexy as hell, but also profoundly moving. I know nothing about Julie Maroh, or graphic novels, so it's all new to me. Maroh is clearly talented at what she does, and I found myself surprised as to just how much I liked this. It does slightly differ from the film though. It's a simple enough set-up, Clementine, a high school junior, falls in love with university art student, Emma. Clementine is not a lesbian, but somehow drawn to Emma who is in a relationship with a butch bully, a leader in the art community, to whom Emma owes a lot. Still, Clementine and Emma fall in love, have amazing sex, and find safe harbor with Emma’s tolerant parents. But as time rolls on, the cracks appear, Clementine is not fully comfortable with her sexual identity, and Emma has had enough of the semi-closeted situation.

The story is told through Clementine’s diary entries and flashbacks, which adds to the melodramatic tone, but Maroh captures the teenage voice so fully, with all its anxieties about growing up and discovering one's self. She creates an emotional roller coaster ride, which at times I found overwhelming. After all, this is a story about overwhelming love. Simple as that.
Maroh's illustrations are exceptionally good, and the colour tones used successfully captures the set of different moods running through the story. It would be unfair to class this as simply 'lesbain literature', as it goes beyond the stereotypical image of it's subject matter, to create a passionate and moving account of love, and what it means to truly feel it. Very impressive.
Profile Image for Coco.
1,017 reviews419 followers
October 6, 2014
Un historia tierna, bonita, dulce y realista.


Conocemos a Clementine, una chica asustada que teme admitir como se siente por sus propios prejuicios y los de la sociedad. Es un camino duro, inseguro y lleno de dudas, pero que harán que Clementine se dé cuenta de que solo el amor puede salvar este mundo, ¿por qué avergonzarse de amar a una persona de tu mismo sexo?

"Emma, me preguntaste si creía en la existencia del amor eterno. El amor es algo demasiado abstracto e indefinido. Depende de lo que nosotros percibimos y vivimos. No existiría si no existiéramos. Y somos muy volubles… Así que el amor también puede serlo.
El amor se consume, nos desfallece, se rompe, nos rompe, se revive… nos revive. El amor no puede ser eterno pero nos hace eternos…"
Profile Image for Laura (thebookcorps).
838 reviews172 followers
February 22, 2020
While there were some parts I really enjoyed in Blue is the Warmest Colour (like almost the whole first half), there were many parts that greatly hurt and angered me. For more info, see under the spoiler cut:

Finally decided on a star rating: 2.5 stars . Literally half of 5 stars because I enjoyed the first half of the graphic novel, and hated the other half.
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,397 followers
September 4, 2020
Please be aware, I know I'm a bad person for what I'm about to say.

There's a scene in the movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where the title characters show up at Ben Affleck's house. Ben Affleck is playing a character at this point (he plays himself later on in the film), but still, he's pretty much just being Ben Affleck. Jay and Silent Bob have just gotten word that a movie about them is being shot in Hollywood without their consent, and they're bummed out, a fact that is immediately apparent to Ben Affleck, who takes one look at them on his doorstep and thunders: "WOULD YOU LOOK AT THESE TWO MOROSE MOTHERFUCKERS!?!?"

God help me, that's what went through my head, unbidden, pretty much the entire time I was reading Blue Is the Warmest Color. Ben Affleck's voice.

Would you look at these two morose motherfuckers!?!?

A gay friend of mine liked to say, about Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, that it's so depressing they should sell it with a pack of razor blades. I feel the same about this book, but the difference is that The Well of Loneliness was published in 1928 and this book was published in 2010. I'm definitely not trying to say everything was great for LGBTQ+ people in 2010 (or now), but it was a good sight better than it was in 1928.

All of which is to say... did it have to be quite this depressing? The fact is, there are some good, happy years tucked into this book, but they're completely glossed over in favor of focusing on all of the bad, sad, tragic parts of life. I am very sure there are people out there who read something like this and feel less alone, and I am not trying to invalidate their experience. I genuinely hope there are many readers who get something positive from this book. But I just thought it was a bummer through and through. There's more to life than this, kids!

I didn't like the art either; it was (wait for it) depressing, and I just tend to like my comic-book art a little crisper and brighter.

I also didn't like the movie. Or rather, I barely remember it. If I had liked it I would probably remember it.

As for the book, I definitely remember it, but I wish I could forget it. Sorry everyone.
Profile Image for Anthony Vacca.
423 reviews279 followers
January 6, 2014
I want to see the recently released Blue is the Warmest Color because I am the kind of degenerate who will buy a ticket to to the movie-house whenever a NC-17 flick rears its sexually-explicit head. Unfortunately, Birmingham, AL has little love for the foreign art house cinema, so all my sordid viewing pleasure will have to wait until the eventual DVD release. Luckily, this award-winning piece of French debauchery is based off a graphic novel, and even more the luck, my library bought a copy. So my salacious need for too-hot-for-children-under-seventeen-to-handle material has been slightly sated. All kidding aside, this slim graphic novel is the lovely story of a bittersweet romance spanning two decades between two young women in 1990's-2000's France. Maroh has a real eye for picking the exact shades of fuzzy color to make this tale of two socially-rejected lovers hit hard the heartest, er, hit the heart hardest. Guaranteed to possibly make even the most jaded of Camus-reading cynics go teary-eyed, Blue is the Warmest Color is another perfect example of why the graphic novel medium is one to be respected and explored.

Note This comic is only 153-pages long, and was read by me during a leisurely hour alone listening to the winter rain. The movie, on the other hand, clocks in at three hours. I can only assume this means that the film must really, uh, flesh out all the scenes of two attractive young women doing it. All very artistic, I'm sure.
Profile Image for ☆☽Erica☾☆.
200 reviews673 followers
March 3, 2016

Be still by beating heart.

The movie adaptation of this graphic novel is one of my favorite movies of all time.

I mean, seriously, look at them and tell me they're not amazing. I DARE YOU.

So I figured I would love the graphic novel as well. I was not wrong.

This is a powerful, moving love story that follows a young woman named Clementine discovering her sexuality with the help of a blue-haired gal named Emma. It is no surprise to me that this made such a heart-wrenching movie. The source material is amazing too. This deserves all the praise it gets.

Let me also say that this book does not entirely follow the same plot-line as the movie. So be prepared to be steamrolled into the ground with emotion.

It's a really quick read. You definitely should read it.
Profile Image for Carlos De Eguiluz.
226 reviews191 followers
February 17, 2017
Lloré, y lloré, y lloré.

Me pasé toda la noche tratando de pensar en lagunas en la historia, en errores o fallos, en algo que le quite el prestigio que ahora tiene para mí, pero no lo encontré, y aquello no hizo más que frustrarme. Estaba en mi cama, mirando a la nada y al todo a su vez, llorando, sintiendo el cúmulo de los mismos resbalar por mis mejillas. Tratando de parar, pero no lo conseguí; simplemente no pude, y es que todo es tan malditamente hermoso, que me fue imposible.

Esta es una historia muy poderosa, con un increíble mensaje de amor en ella; y bien, lo que la hace fuerte es el realismo que maneja, nada exagerado, todo posible, todo anormalmente normal. Nos enseña que no todo es amor y romance, que siempre habrá adversidad, pero que lo que es bueno, y vale la pena, prevalece.

Citas (algunas largas):

"Gracias a ti me iré en paz y jamás podré agradecer lo bastante el que nos hayamos encontrado."

"El azul se ha vuelto un color cálido."

"Te quiero Emma, eres mi vida."

"El corazón me late con fuerza cuando pienso en lo que viene.
Creo que tengo miedo...
No sé lo que va a pasar...
Pero tengo la intuición...
...de que hoy será un día importante."

"Las dudas de los adolescentes parecen banales a los ojos de los demás. Pero ¿cómo puedes resolverlas cuando te saltan y no sabes de qué pie cojeas?"

"Clem también se hubiera enamorado de mí si yo hubiera sido un chico."

"De haber sabido que nos faltaría tiempo... no lo habría desperdiciado."

"Estoy muy asustada. No debo pensar en eso. Me siento perdida y no puedo comentar con mis amigas algo tan retorcido, me darían de lado.
Tengo que dejarme de cosas raras y aferrarme a los que me quieren."

"Soy una chica, y las chicas salen con chicos."

"Me siento perdida, sola, en el fondo de un pozo. No sé qué hacer, tengo la impresión de que todo lo que hago es contra-natura...
Contra mi naturaleza."

"¿Por qué esta vida parece buena para los demás, pero no para mí?
¡Esta vida tampoco es buena para los demás, cariño!"

"Por las noches no puedo impedir tener algunos sueños... y ya no quiero rechazarlos..."

"¡Tiene que haber otras chicas que sientan lo mismo que yo!"

"El amor no siempre coincide con la moral que nos enseñan"

"No hay una frontera clara e inmutable entre la amistad y el deseo amoroso."

"Recuerdo que pasé la noche vieja demasiado cocida...
Vomité tanto que creí echar por la boca todo el contenido de mi cuerpo... incluyendo mis pensamientos y recuerdos.
A pesar de todo, me sentí bien tras esa terrible experiencia, como si me hubiera deshecho de un pasado demasiado pesado. Sin padecimientos, sin preocupaciones o cuestiones existenciales... Por primera vez me sentía satisfecha, en armonía: todo parecía estar en su sitio."

"Fue una estupidez contentarme con lo que se me ofrecía cada día, sin intentar ir más lejos ni correr riesgos.
Y ahora que se ha roto ese equilibrio no sé si debo sentirme agradecida o lamentarlo"

"—Er... Valentín, no te separes de mí, ¿vale?
—¡Jaja! Claro, no tengas miedo. No te comerá ninguno de los colegas que voy a presentarte... ¡...Porque eres chica! ¡Pffffjajajaja!"

"—Aquí es raro encontrar gente de tu estilo...
—¿Ah? ¿Y cuál es mi estilo?
—Er, bueno... el de menor que se pasa la noche de bares y sola...
—Y el de heterosexual, que parece sentir mucha curiosidad."

"No me daba cuenta de nada. Me sentía como si tuviera luz circulando por mis venas. Todo lo que pe pasa tiene nombre... Emma, se llama Emma."

"El olor de Emma se apoderó de mi corazón. Me quedé paralizada mientras todo mi ser quería arrojarse contra ella. Habíamos pasado dos horas aisladas del mundo y lo único que me importaba era volver a verla. Hundirme en la inmensidad azul de su mirada... Fundirme en sus brazos. Desaparecer en sus besos."

"Ninguno de mis amigos me dirige la palabra.
El aire apesta a estupidez humana..."

"—¿Nunca te has avergonzado de ser así?
—Sólo el amor puede salvar a este mundo. ¿Por qué debería de avergonzarme amar?"


"Poco a poco me di cuenta de que hay muchas formas de amar.
No elegimos de quien nos enamoramos, y nuestra idea de la felicidad se impone a nosotros en función de cómo vivimos."

"—Pareces feliz...
—Es que empiezo a aceptar todo lo bueno que hay en lo que me pasa. Y he dejjado de preocuparme por lo que piensen los demás.
—¡Whoa! ¿Has tenido una revelación o qué?
—Se llama Emma."

"Esperaba nuestras citas con impaciencia. Apenas podía dormir, feliz pero angustiada, porque estaba a gusto con ella y tenía miedo de perderla.
Y de ese modo empezó a crecer algo, el deseo de ella. Deseo de estar en sus brazos, de acariciarla, de besarla, de que ella también lo quisiera, que me quisiera.
Ahora... estamos muy próximas. A veces siento que me pesa esta ambigüedad... pero... conteniendo el aliento, pendiente del suyo... y un instante después me puede la vergüenza, y me odio y me ahogo en esta bola de fuego que sólo quiere abandonar mi vientre.
Y ya no puedo más."

"—¿Por qué quiero esas cosas de ella? ¿Por qué imagino esas cosas? ¡Es horrible!
—¿Qué es horrible?
—No tengo derecho. Es una chica. Es horrible.
—Clem, lo horrible es que la gente se mate por petróleo y se cometan genocidios... y no querer dar amor a alguien. Y es horrible que te enseñen que está mal enamorarte de alguien solo porque tenga el mismo sexo que tú. Porque estás enamorada de ella, ¿verdad?"

"Es el curso previo a la universidad y pienso centrarme y estudiar a fondo. Quiero ser digna de la madurez que se espera de mí y que el año pase muy deprisa... Tengo la cabeza en otra parte, en el futuro. Tengo sed de encuentros y de descubrimientos. De descubrirme a mí misma."

"—¡Como alguna zorra se meta contigo, me encargaré de que se le quiten las ganas de faltarte al respeto!
—¿De verdad? ¿Y por qué ibas a hacer eso?
—Porque no soporto la idea de verte sufrir."

"—El chico del que te enamores será el más afortunado de todo el planeta.
Tú eres ese chico.
¿Cómo has podido decirme eso, Emma? Tú eres ese chico que se supone que es el más afortunado del planeta.
¡Eres tú, Emma!
Eres tú, Emma."

"—¿Por qué? ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué nunca me has traído aquí? ¿Por qué?
—Porque... porque... porque... porque no habría podido contenerme y no hacerte el amor.
Grito. Mi vientre, mi corazón, mi garganta, todo mi cuerpo grita. Tú. Tú. Tú. Sólo estás tú. Te amo. Te amo. Te amo. Te amo."

"—¿Has olvidado ya el primer día que vine aquí...? Corrí un riesgo enorme contándote abiertamente lo que sentía. ¿Lo has olvidado ya? Tengo la sensación de que sólo lo soñé y eso es horrible. Por favor, necesito que tú también te arriesgues, necesito saber que no lo soñé.
—No... no lo soñaste."

"2 de abril de 1997
Hoy ha cambiado todo. Hoy hemos perdido la inocencia.
—Hace un mes que no puedo dormir por tu ausencia. Si no puedo pasar contigo todas las noches de mi vida, no quiero esta vida."

"—Te quiero. Te quiero apasionadamente... Y te quiero apaciblemente... Puede que el amor eterno sea eso, esta mezcla de paz y de fuego."

"—¿Crees en el amor eterno?
—Te quiero. Te quiero. Te quiero."

"Hoy una tempestad de gritos ha hecho zozobrar nuestros secretos. Los míos. Los de esta familia. Y ya no volveremos a ser los mismos."

"Emma... Duermes a mi lado mientras escribo estas líneas. Te conozco hace tantos años que puedo saber lo que sentiste desde el momento en que me metieron en esta cama de hospital... Culpabilidad. Te dices que si me hubieras prestado más atención, habrías notado mis síntomas de mi mal. Te dices que pudiste haberme salvado, aunque todos los médicos te digan lo contrario. Pero, amor mío, ya me has salvado. Me has salvado de un mundo de prejuicios y morales absurdas, ayudándome a realizarme por completo. Nadie tiene la culpa de lo que ha pasado hoy. Me llevo mis mejores recuerdos, la mayoría contigo... Nuestras risas, nuestro amor... El azul de tu mirada y el azul de tus cabellos que me hechizaron las noches de mi adolescencia todo el tiempo en que te amé sin atreverme a vivir ese amor. Ahora que me voy y tú te quedas, te lo suplico... DEBES VIVIR. Debes vivir plenamente esa vida tan preciosa que te queda, y hacerlo, como lo hago yo ahora mismo en mi último lecho, sin pesar y en paz contigo misma. La vida que me has dado no habría podido ser mejor.
Emma... Me preguntaste si creía en la existencia del amor eterno. El amor es algo demasiado abstracto e indefinido. Depende de lo que nosotros percibimos y vivímos. No existiría si no existiéramos. Y somos muy volubles... Así que el amor también puede serlo. El amor se consume, nos desfallece, se rompe, nos rompe, se revive... nos revive. El amor no puede ser eterno, pero nos hace eternos... El amor que hemos despertado continuará su camino más allá de nuestra muerte.
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