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In: A Graphic Novel
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In: A Graphic Novel

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A poignant and witty graphic novel by a leading New Yorker cartoonist, following a millennial's journey from performing his life to truly connecting with people

Nick, a young illustrator, can’t shake the feeling that there is some hidden realm of human interaction beyond his reach. He haunts lookalike fussy, silly, coffee shops, listens to old Joni Mitchell albums too loud
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: May 4th 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  42 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Alexander Peterhans
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

A graphic novel that tries to have its cake and eat it, and pretty much succeeds. On the one side there is a cool, ironic distanced approach in a lot of the book, which is where the book is funniest. On the other hand is the need of the Nick, the main character, to find a real connection to other people, to be let in and to let in himself. Whenever this happens the world opens up to him, and the novel switches from a black, grey and white palet to full on colours.

We follow Nick, who is a cartoon
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, graphic-novels
“In” is about detachment. Nick walks through life, past millennial-y named coffee/tea/lifestyle shops feeling– or rather, not feeling at all. He has a sister who, when he asks her how she is, tells him not to bother. A mother who he calls to help with leaks. Seemingly meaningful relationships of any sort. I know – so far this has the incredible potential of being an extremely self-indulgent story about an emotionally constipated 20-something-year-old where boy who goes through life not understan ...more
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A poignant story about detachment and connecting with people

Key words: graphic novel, connect, fiction, contemporary, compassion, humour, adult

This is the cover that attracted me first, so simplistic and yet already full of meaning. I am so glad I read it, I really liked it. This is an apparently semi-autobiographical novel and I think a lot of us can relate to this story and especially to the main character. He is just a millennial, a person who wants to stop performing his life instead of trul
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed McPhail's illustrations in The New Yorker before so was intrigued when I saw he was releasing a graphic novel. In makes for a poignant read, focusing on finding connection in our day to day interactions with each other through a semi-autobiographical lens. Touching on grief, love and dating, this had a deep impact even with a relatively short page count.

The illustrations were beautiful, and I can only imagine this would be better in hard copy form. Recommended!

Thank you Netgalley an
Niklas Pivic
This is a humanistic work of art. This book makes way with the human experience, interactions between family members and romantic interest much in the same way as Oliver Assayas did with Summer Hours and Terence Malick did with The Thin Red Line.

This book is the best graphic novel that I’ve read since Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist. It reminds me a lot of the deeply human experience of reading Colum McCann’s masterpiece, Apeirogon.

The book follows Nick, a young il
Shawn Norton
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book a great deal. While the subject matter could be overdone/overexposed I really liked the art style and pacing. The detours into a sort of surrealism combined with flashes of color really delivered the "true connection" feeling that I think the artist was going for. It made me laugh out loud a few times, and I was actually late for an appointment because I had to finish reading this.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Touching with some unexpected humour, captures late-millennial ennui and self-indulgence well - particularly the constant feelings of performativity and the difficulty in making true connections with people. Some excellent artwork with powerful uses of colour, and a story that works well in the graphic novel format. Recommended.
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
[I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.] This book surprised me with how much I loved it. It follows Nick, a man living a very performative, pretentious, self-absorbed life, who struggles to connect with people beyond the surface-level. His environment, to the coffee shops he visits to his work to the people he interacts with, reinforces this issue. Nick starts making an effort to connect more deeply with people just as some big changes in his life s ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Our character, Nick, is surrounded by people in whichever city he's in, a city that's full of the worst coffee shops with the widest spread of milks but just the worst names, and nobody in that city is communicating. Testing out the waters as a sad man, doing sad things like going to sad bars sadly alone, he meets a girl, Wren, and they hit it off, but surely in amongst that welter of humanity there might be a friend? Someone who doesn't shout him down for sketching her on the subway, someone wh ...more
Eternally Bonkers (Shilpa)
In. is a graphic novel by New Yorker cartoonist, Will McPhail. The artwork stands out primarily as the author has successfully incorporated the millennial generation's woe in connecting with people deeply, and also describing the protagonist's experiences of communication blending in the magic realism.

Nick is a young illustrator (one can take it as a semi-biographical story) who fancies visiting coffeeshops and bars because they seem cool. And I loved how each coffee shop and bar is described i
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
(4 stars = really liked it)

I've said it before to my friend and I'll say it again: this book has no business being what it is. I mean, how dare you come into my house and spill out all the things I worry about right at my face? Rude, honestly.

IN tells the story of Nick, a young adult who probably needs some help, not only with his broken toilet. Talking to people isn't his forte, while avoiding awkward or difficult conversations certainly is. I suppose you could say he's also struggling with who
Lauren Howard
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This graphic novel follows Nick, an artist who has been gliding through life, not feeling much. It tells the story of Nick consciously deciding that he wants to be more meaningful with his words, and what happens when he does. There's definitely a theme of missed chances/connections here.

I was not entirely sold on this book at first but about halfway through, it began to pick up and a lump filled in the b
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Since I picked up this book yesterday for the first time, I have read it two times already, and I plan to reread it again today. It touched me in a way I was not expecting it.
I don't read descriptions on principle, I like to be surprised when I start a book, so I didn't have any thoughts going in, only that the cover is interesting and I wanted to know what the title refers to. By the end, I felt hollow in the best way possible, in a way that only an amazing reading experience can make you feel.
Ashley Dang
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful graphic novel. I absolutely loved it. It had humor, real life questions, was very relatable, and an overall joy to read. The story follows Nick, a young illustrator, who can’t shake the feeling that there is some hidden realm of interaction beyond his reach ( and I mean we all have had this feeling). He floats from place to place trying to just connect with someone or some feeling. He has very interesting and sometimes funny interactions with his neighbors, the bar man, his plumber, ...more
Sanaa Hyder
Oct 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Dnf at 28%

I got the ARC for this from NetGalley. I was intrigued by the description, but I wonder if it had clearly specified that the target audience for this was adult readers (given mature content) would have changed my mind.

In first third of this story (i.e. upto where I read), McPhail gives us a character who is witty but going through apparently a “millenial” existential crisis. I put that word in quotation marks because I don’t like to paint my entire generation with the same brush strok
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this Graphic Novel, Will McPhail perfectly illustrates the difficulty of finding meaningful connections in our daily lives. The main character Nick weaves in and out of coffee shops and bars providing a window into the life of a Millennial trying to discover himself through the interactions with others. My favorite part is the discussions Nick has with his Plumber which are oddly profound. This book experiments with the contrast between black and white images and color images to emphasize imp ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley and the author to read and review.

In a world full of feelings he doesn't understand, Nick has a moment of clarity while talking to a worker who comes to his house. He speaks what he's really feeling, without covering it up, and finds a moment of connection he didn't expect. That moment opens up a whole new world to him, and things around him change along with him. The artwork is distinctive, the story is told well, and I was left feeling
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Poignant graphic novel about interpersonal connections and a millenial's struggles with communication.

I waited a long time to read this book after picking it up because, honestly, I was anxious to read something hitting so close to home. During this difficult global time, I feel the lack of social connections very harshly. And in this book, the main character named Nick struggles to make interpersonal connections in his life, even though they are at hand's reach. Then, when Nick begins to put mo
Jesse Carrasco
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A perfect graphic novel for the millennial generation. After navigating his way through life without having "deep" interactions or connections with people, Nick suddenly shares his true feelings with a stranger and this open his eyes to a world of true human interaction and he begins to crave more. The rest of the novel follows him Nick through some funny and some sad experiences as he seeks a deeper human connection with family, friends, and strangers. This is a quick read that leaves the reade ...more
Bill Cass
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well done graphic novel that straddles the line between artsy and conventional perfectly. This is about Nick's journey to learn how to make honest connections with people and what happens along the way.

Long story short, his relationship with Wren is the best part. I liked the whole thing, but Wren was the best.

There were times when I lost the plot but I was able to figure out what was going on fairly quick. This is a bittersweet story with emphasis on the bitter. The ending, without spoilers,
This rating/review is based on an advanced copy from Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

This will definitely not be a 5-star book for everyone, but it is so precisely, exactly my shit. Wren is exactly my dream girl and I was just so delighted with her character throughout. The writing definitely has a strong voice, which I don't think will be everyone's jam, but I doubt anyone can take issue with the art. I loved how color was incorporated into the story and overall the drawing style is so
Sarah Metts
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is something in the blend of different styles, the windows into the souls of others, the worlds they contain that lingers after finishing it. We follow Nick in his struggle to connect and understand the silence, the quiet wall, that exists between people. The description mentions millennial, but I feel many have felt the push to individualization. Some know of a "good ole day", while other don't. It is a lost connection with people that makes us wary of even talking, being open, being hone ...more
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it

This graphic novel managed to make me feel very empty inside though there were plenty of scenes that made me laugh out loud. The artstyle is very interesting and fitting. In the beginning, I wasn't sure where the plot was going but it seems to tell more than one story and I like that. The characters and their relationships to one another are really well done as well, perhaps that is even one of my favourite things.

Everything that happened seemed to make sense and/or well thought out and it'
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t put this graphic novel down and finished it in one go. Beautifully illustrated. I liked the combination of simple grayscale line drawings and powerful colour illustrations, with the limited use of colour conveying meaningful moments

The book follows Nick, an illustrator feeling disconnected from the people around him and shows his attempts to make meaningful connections. The book looks at Nick’s relationships with his family, his romantic interest and the strangers he meets. This book
Jazzy Lemon
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting. Drawn with such a simplistic attention to detail, the brilliant artwork comes off looking easier than it could ever be in this story of Nick, who feels alienated to others and wants to be able to relate. There are some laugh out loud funny things in here, such as the night he has a bit of a romp with a woman after an impromptu date, as well as sad moments, and those that just make you think. Nick is a universal character that most of us c ...more
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was so lovely and so heart-breaking.
Nick is a wonderful protagonist; he’s awkward but funny and likable and compelling. He feels very real.
And Wren, omg Wren is who I want to be when I grow up – a wonderful character.

The story is told with economy, but each page has impact. And, there are some truly spectacular jokes mixed into this very poignant story and all are told in gorgeous artwork. The narrative (and aesthetic) use of color is so well done.

My thanks to the author, publisher, and
This is about Nick, who is only trying to connect, awkwardly and not up to the challenge. Wren is Nick's friend, a cancer doctor, with a factor of sex craziness. He has a sister and nephew, who only want a genuine connection to Nick and a mother with cancer.

The graphics are spot on. The artist creates a moodiness and reflect Nick's angst about life.

Good story, except, I did not really understand the ending. It seems Nick has slipped away and Wren is now the lonly figure walking about.

This was a
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel is poignant and heartfelt. It is the story of a millennial who is desperate to make personal connections with others and when he finally does, his life dramatically changes in unexpected, impactful ways.
I laughed at the dry humor and was left teary-eyed at the end due to the unexpected emotional impact of the story. This is truly well done.

Advanced readers copy provided courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jess Smiley
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A clever, heartbreaking, funny slice-of-life story of a young cartoonist searching for meaning. An expertly crafted story with a dry wit and weighty subject matter. My biggest challenge in reading this is the way the characters’ eyes are drawn. They look out of place—big and bugged-out, like every expression is one of complete horror. It took me 1/3 of the book to get used to such cartoony eyes on otherwise realistic-looking characters.
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m not familiar with Will McPhail’s work, but after reading”In” I will check out his work in The New Yorker. Equal parts humorous, heartbreaking and heartwarming, “In” beautifully paints a portrait of a young millennial man who longs to make an authentic connection with anyone around him, from his family to the beautiful woman at the bar to the plumber assigned to fix his toilet. Highly relatable with affective illustrations to boot.
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