Review: Go with the Flow by Lily Williams & Karen Schneemann




Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: First Second
Genre: young adult realistic graphic novel
Format/Source: finished copy, from the library
Status: standalone


Summary:
Good friends help you go with the flow. Best friends help you start a revolution.

Sophomores Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha are fed up. Hazelton High never has enough tampons. Or pads. Or adults who will listen.

Sick of an administration that puts football before female health, the girls confront a world that shrugs―or worse, squirms―at the thought of a menstruation revolution. They band together to make a change. It’s no easy task, especially while grappling with everything from crushes to trig to JV track but they have each other’s backs. That is, until one of the girls goes rogue, testing the limits of their friendship and pushing the friends to question the power of their own voices.

Now they must learn to work together to raise each other up. But how to you stand your ground while raising bloody hell?
Review:
Folks, Go With the Flow is currently in my top 5 best books of the year. And that's saying something because I've read 66 books so far in 2020. PUT THIS BOOK ON YOUR TBR AND THEN MOVE IT TO THE TOP IMMEDIATELY.

Go With the Flow has so many amazing things going for it. It's a graphic novel so it's a fairly quick read, but it covers a lot of ground. It's groundbreaking in that I honestly don't know of another YA book that is entirely about periods (although I know of a few that talk about the subject openly). It's intersectional, it's feminist, and it acknowledges the experience of having a period is different for everyone. I was very touched by this story, and I really hope more people read it, love it, and share it with even more people.

This book really shows not only how varied the experience of having a period can be, but also that sometimes, even those of us who have them aren't very sympathetic toward the people who have a more difficult experience. I identified most closely with Brit, whose periods are frequently heavy and painful. I've been having periods for almost 20 years, and I can't tell you how many times I've felt nauseated, headache-y, crampy, and just plain AWFUL during my periods. And yet, I know if I asked to leave work, some people, even my cis female coworkers who have or have had periods, would not understand because that's not how they experience(d) their own periods or how they are portrayed in movies and on tv.

I also love that Go With the Flow focuses a lot on how expensive it is to have a period. I went shopping right around when I read the book, and I refreshed my personal supplies. Spent about $40 on 3 boxes of tampons. TMI alert/personal story time: One of life's wonderful little ironies is that I actually met Karen and Lily last Friday, the night before the North Texas Teen Book Festival, and we had an absolutely fantastic conversation. Then, on Saturday, when I needed most to put on my "I'm happy to be among thousands of people" excited face, even though my back had gone out that week and being On for hours during a public event is exhausting for my introverted self, my period arrived. DURING THE FESTIVAL. And like, thank GOODNESS I keep supplies in my purse (and had just refreshed) and also in my car because the convention center was charging over $1 for pads and tampons. It makes me worry about all the teens in the building for the event, and I plan to discuss the situation with my fellow event staff as we do our festival post-mortem meetings. We keep first-aid kits at all our info desks. Surely we could spend $20 of our budget to grab a box of emergency tampons and pads just in case an attendee is in need next year.

Aside from the logistics and realities of having a period, the story of Go With the Flow is about friendship, activism, and consent. I absolutely love Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha. These four are so supportive of one another, but they're also not afraid to speak up when someone does wrong, even and especially when that person is a friend. After all, sometimes it's the people we know and love the most who can hurt us the worst.

I wholeheartedly recommend Go With the Flow to absolutely everyone. Yes, we should by all means give this book to all people with uteruses because they'll be able to relate and maybe learn some new information that will help them. But even those people who will never experience a period should read it so they can also learn about what it's like and hopefully develop some empathy for those who do. BUY THIS BOOK. LEND THIS BOOK TO SOMEONE. GIVE THIS BOOK TO SOMEONE ELSE (or the same person. That's cool too). TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THIS BOOK!!

Purchase Links:
   


About Karen:
Karen Schneemann grew up in Northern California. She received her first undergraduate degree in engineering from UCLA and her second in animation from California College of the Arts. In addition to being an engineer, artist, and writer, Karen is also a mom to two adorable kids. She lives and works in foggy San Francisco, California.

 

About Lily:
Lily Williams is an author, illustrator, and storyteller who seeks to inspire change through education. Her work covers many topics, from the trophic cascade in the award-winning animated documentary short film FINconceivable and award-winning If Animals Disappeared nonfiction picture book series, to menstruation in the webcomic The Mean Magenta and upcoming graphic novel, Go With The Flow (First Second, 2020), to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in her My O.C.D. Story and I’m So O.C.D. That… comics and upcoming graphic novel Exposures (First Second, 2022). Lily believes in the power of making information fun, educational, and accessible for all audiences.

Lily grew up in Northern California where she graduated from California College of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Animation. She spent time working in feature film animation in Los Angeles before becoming a freelance artist full time.

When she isn’t creating, Lily can be found dreaming about the smell of cold winter air, listening for the sound of airplanes on a rainy day, playing with her rescue rabbits (Owen and Oliver), and perfecting her gluten free waffle recipe. Lily lives in Denver, Colorado.

Author Links:
    

Giveaway:
One winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Go With the Flow. Open to US residents, age 13+. Ends at 12 am CDT March 31.

40 comments:

  1. First Second is such a great publisher for graphic novels, and this sounds like another fun read!

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  2. This is a book I immediately placed on my want to read list.

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  3. This was an excellent book. I read this a few weeks and I enjoyed how the girls talked honestly and openly with each other. I agree with you, everyone should read it.

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  4. I'm going to have to get this for my kids. :) They're at the perfect reading level for this one! Great review!

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