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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  13,237 ratings  ·  1,700 reviews
Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden's powerful graphic memoir, Spinning, captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.

It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.

Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at comp
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by First Second
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Richard All ages. Younger children will probably need to talk about a lot of the content in order to process it, especially since it's the story of a childhoo…moreAll ages. Younger children will probably need to talk about a lot of the content in order to process it, especially since it's the story of a childhood and much of it will be topical for them in one way or another.

What you get out of it will depend heavily on what you've experienced in life, though, so really, any reader would benefit from having someone to talk to about it. The fact that it's the story of a real, lived experience means that it's well-suited as a springboard for a group of people to get together and share their perspectives about life in general.(less)

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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,237 ratings  ·  1,700 reviews

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Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
This was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

TW: depression, sexual harassment, homophobia
Whitney Atkinson

I didn't realize this was a memoir until literally the second I was about to start it, so upon adjusting my expectations, I think this felt a bit flat for me. I know it's a memoir so it's discussing the author's journey with her career in skating, but it felt a bit monotone and I was struggling to grasp its purpose. Maybe it lacked enough of a resolution, but although I liked the art and the story fine, it didn't really grab me or connect with me.
MissBecka Gee
It's not a story so much as a collection of feelings attached to memories accompanied by illustrations. ...more
The cold from the ice rink seeps out of this book. Tillie has created a mood here and also she has shared her childhood. Getting up at 4am every morning, how do people do that? Tillie has shared her story openly and honestly, all her falls and all the times she soared. I love that she included her cello lessons here. Lessons are a place we grow up in, this little weekly bubble.

Tillie also told her coming out story and what that was like. I think she was 14. It feels very honest in the retelling
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really moving story that made me shed a tear. I absolutely loved the art as well.
Dave Schaafsma
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tillie Walden is at this writing 21 years old (!), and this is already her fourth book, but this is her first long form work, a memoir about the 12 years she spent figure skating. I have read and reviewed two of her shorter, earlier works, I Love This Part and The End of Summer, and liked them actually better than this memoir as subtle, atmospheric short stories. This book is almost 400 pages, on a subject she herself never really loved. The moody, shy Walden has few friends, is bullied, though ...more
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I don't usually pick up sports-related memoirs as they don't typically interest me, and I know next to nothing about figure skating, so Spinning almost wasn't on my radar at all. The only reason I picked it up is that I learned it involved queer rep, and I'm actually really glad that I did.

Spinning offers such an insightful, though clearly somewhat traumatized take on what it's like to grow up as a kid who's all-in obsessed with a particular sport, hobby, etc. It's clear that Walden holds a lot
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
4.5 stars. I'm very confused about how there are so many "eh" reviews because this book is GORGEOUS. Just tactically, the feel of holding this book is your hands is so *satisfying*. A lot of reviews said the pacing was "off", however I thought it was extremely relatable to how we remember our own childhoods and own our traumas.

Tillie Walden is only 21 (!!!!) and she crafted this book with such bravery and honesty. I wouldn't necessarily say it follows a traditional story arc, but the memoir is
Stunning. So stunning I added it as an extra book (#13!) to my booktalking lineup for local middle schools in 2018.

I can't believe how accomplished and mature this feels. It's a whole package. Gorgeous production, brilliant use of color, breathtaking composition...


I (like many, at least when the Olympics are on) enjoy watching figure skating, but don't know much about it as a subculture. On the other hand, when I was growing up, I was a synchronized swimmer for many years, so I to
(3.5) I’m uncomfortable with the term “graphic memoir,” which to me connotes a memoir with graphically violent or sexual content. However, it seems to be accepted parlance nowadays for a graphic novel that’s autobiographical rather than fictional. Tillie Walden’s Spinning is in the same vein as Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Craig Thompson’s Blankets: a touching coming-of-age story delivered through the medium of comics.

Specifically, this is about the 12 years Walden spent in the competitive figu
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have a hard time writing something critical/potentially negative when it comes to memoirs, because in a way it does feel as if you're rating someone's life. However, my issue with this novel comes more from Walden's writing and overall story telling than it does her subject.

It seems as if Walden has overcome a lot in her young life, but because of her delivery (or perhaps lack thereof) I wasn't able to get the full impact or be affected by it. We spend a lot of time on trivial matters/subject
Krista Regester
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly beautiful.
First Second Books
Sep 12, 2017 marked it as first-second-publications
Figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing in glitter and tights. But as her interests evolve, from her growing passion for art to a first love realized with a new girlfriend, she begins to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fits in. Spinning is a poignant and captivating graphic memoir that captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with ...more
Cam (justabookeater)
A copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This graphic novel was anything BUT what I expected it to be. I expected something lighthearted and full of fluff but it’s definitely no that.

Spinning tells the story of a young girl named Tillie who has been figure skating since she was little. Her story is one filled with loneliness even when surrounded by dozens of girls, which is kind of the lesbian experience when one is very young. She’s not the most lik
mindful.librarian ☀️
I’m so impressed with this graphic memoir, especially because it was published when the author was 21, meaning it was written when she was even younger. It’s hard for most of us to even have partially processed our childhood and adolescence by that age, much less write a book about it!
I think that’s why the first word that comes to mind after finishing it is “raw”. Walden’s wounds from her too-many years in competitive skating, the bullying she endured, the sexual assault, car crash and the rea
Elizabeth A
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This graphic memoir deals with coming out, growing up, and the fact that after ten years of hard work at being a competitive figure skater, the author realized that she didn't love skating all that much after all.

Figure skating is my fave Winter Olympics sport, and I tend to enjoy sports themed stories, so there is much about this book that I liked. The art wonderfully evokes the feel of the themes discussed, and I enjoyed all the skating stuff. This is targeted at a young adult audience, and t
The art is gorgeous and I am impressed that the author is as young as my little brother - 21! This book had an interesting mix of subject matter (lesbian author, competitive ice skating) and had a melancholy, mellow mood which I enjoy. I felt like a lot of it was surface-level though and even the really monumental life experiences are rarely explored with much detail. I like my graphic memoirs with a little more introspection.
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
yes i cried but i’m such a baby when it comes to books and coming out stories that in the end literally who tf is surprised at my sobbing? no one.
Spinning is a memoir in graphic format about growing up and falling out of love with something that has been an integral part of your life. This is the story of how the author grew up with figure skating, but realized it was never really for her too late to disentangle herself from it easily. It talks about the weight of expectations, self-imposed and not; about the very present weights of homophobia and sexism and how they take a toll on young lesbians; there are some parts that are subtly abou ...more
Rod Brown
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I found the art quite attractive in its simple, almost minimalist style. I found the story to be quite effectively told though it did lose some momentum in the middle and meander around a bit as it seemed to introduce more elements than the creator could really deal with between two covers, which is strange to say as it is a very thick and heavy graphic novel. Despite the outward appearance of the physical book it reads quite quickly as Walden uses a decompressed storytelling technique, with mos ...more
Charlie Jane Anders
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I got this graphic novel as part of Comix Experience's graphic novel of the month club, and it's become my favorite thing they've given me lately. Just gorgeous art and a really captivating portrayal of what it's like to be young and super invested in an activity that you're not even sure you enjoy. Wonderful coming-of-age story about a queer teen. A friend asked me to recommend comics by women for a teenage girl and this was my top recommendation. ...more
— nova
I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would! Rtc.
I don't think I'll be fully reviewing this, but oh my god it was beautiful. 100% recommend. ...more
Dov Zeller
"I was a competitive figure and synchronized skater for twelve years."

These are the words that open up the book, set in a white rectangular text box (used for narration) amidst a deep purplish blue background, the wall of a building, most likely an interior wall, but in this stunning two-tone opening page (three? white, yellow, purple-blue), the windows have a mirrorish quality so that it looks like Tillie (the Tillie who is the narrator and protagonist of this memoir) could be walking in or ou
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 stars
Ashley Owens
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I was provided with a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked this story. It was a very personal tale and one that really made me ache for the best for Tillie. I didn’t know going into it that it is a graphic memoir, and so that was a pleasant surprise.

My main qualm with this story was the pacing. I didn’t get enough time in any one event of Tillie’s life, and we moved onto the next part of her story sometimes after only like 2 frames had been spent on some
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure I would like Spinning because I have zero interest in figure skating and the whole figure skating competition world of children. I never played an organized sport or joined a group as a child/teen because that's just not me, so I surprised myself by enjoying this graphic memoir by Tillie Walden.

Although Spinning touches on many issues—the isolating and exhausting life of a child athlete; non-demonstrative parents; the push for perfection; coming out as a lesbian; the heartbreak of
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I saw Tillie speak this weekend and couldn't wait to dive in. Was not disappointed! Spinning is Tillie's story of how the little (and not so little) moments shape who we are as an adult. Absolutely adored this and hope we see more from Tillie soon! ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5/5 Stars

This graphic novel is a memoir of Tillie Walden herself. During the reading experience you can feel how intimate what you're reading is, the author truly poured her heart out into this project and it definitely shows. The storyline is about coming out, growing up and leaving behind things that we know like the back of our hand but that don't make us happy anymore. So in the end it's for our own best that we decide to leave them. I would have liked to know more about Walden's life afte
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
I wanted to like this more than I did. What kept me from giving a higher rating was the fact that so many serious topics were mentioned but never discussed or resolved. They made me uncomfortable and mad because nothing was ever done about them. Her mom was a bit of a jerk but her parents were hardly mentioned. I'll go into detail with my review but I needed some type of closure that was never given.


Full review can be found here:

I have always lik
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LBSCI 767: Review of Spinning 6 10 Sep 11, 2020 01:23PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #44 Spinning by Tillie Walden 1 6 Feb 20, 2018 05:06PM  

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Tillie Walden is a cartoonist and illustrator from Austin, Texas. Born in 1996, she is a recent graduate from the Center for Cartoon Studies, a comics school in Vermont. Over the course of her time at CCS she published three books with the London based Avery Hill Publishing. She has already received an Eisner Award nomination and two Ignatz Awards for her early works. When she is not drawing comic ...more

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“And I found out quickly that a fancier school did not mean fewer bullies" -Tillie” 3 likes
“Do what you love and the money will come" -Mr. Williams” 3 likes
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