Title: Seven Places Without You (First edition called Siete sitios sin ti)
Author: Juan Berrio
Genre: Comics and Graphic Novels, Romance
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Summary (from NetGalley):
Elena is losing Jorge, and she doesn’t know why. They’ve been living together at Jorge’s parents’ house for some time now, and so far, everything between them had seemed to be going well. But recently, Jorge has been spending less and less time at home. Elena isn’t sure what to make of his absence, and one day, she decides to leave. “Seven Places Without You” is the story of a young couple’s first experience of a relationship on the rocks; a story that allows time to elapse and silences to lengthen, focusing more on how events develop than on the events themselves. It’s also the story of the spaces where these events occur: the seven places of the title, and of Jorge’s absence.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
As someone who doesn’t often go for graphic novels, this was a pleasant surprise for me. The narrative follows a young woman whose first relationship is on the rocks, as she searches for a new place for herself and considers her situation.
This is a story of love that doesn’t run smoothly, and I appreciate that. It isn’t filled with drama or passionate reunions (although there is a reunion of some sort in the final chapter), but takes place in the spaces between the events of the relationship.
One of my favourite things about the novel is how realistic all of the dialogue is. One particular line (unimportant as it is) stuck out to me: “Any more fridge food?”
That line just sits perfectly in the middle of the scene, grounding it in reality. This isn’t a novel focused SOLELY on romance and relationships either; it really captures the ongoing debate in Elena’s head, whilst focusing on her day to day life.
Since this is a graphic novel, I should probably comment on the art too – it’s very simplistic, with a muted colour palette, which isn’t to my tastes exactly, but fits perfectly with the narrative. I liked how the colours reflected Elena’s mood throughout, being blue and grey towards the beginning, and vivid red at the end.
One thing that did bother me slightly was that I had issues distinguishing between certain characters. Initially I thought that Maria was the same person as Elena’s younger brother, then got HIM mixed up with Jorge when he finally appeared. This was perhaps just an issue for me, however it did hinder the flow of the narrative a little.
(There are some more explicit images in the final chapter which didn’t bother me, but may bother others so I figured I’d mention it)
All in all, I enjoyed reading this book; it’s a very quick read, perhaps 20 minutes? If you’re looking for something simple and moving, give Seven Places Without You a whirl!
Lots of love,