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It's Not What You Thought It Would Be (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Through vignettes that read like short stories, Lizzy Stewart portrays the growth of two friends into their adulthood in subtle, nostalgic but honest ways. Through her wistful art that switches mediums like memory, these stories feel like bruises, impressions under the surface that will leave you tender, thoughtful, and forgiving to yourself for not living up to your own expectations when adulthood isn't at all that you'd imagined. Perfect for fans of Eleanor Davis and Jillian Tamaki.

— Julie Jarema


A poignant coming-of-age story, this debut graphic novel follows two young women on their path to adulthood.

In her graphic novel debut, English cartoonist Lizzy Stewart chronicles the lives of two close friends from adolescence to adulthood. As the years go by, life nudges them in directions that they never could have expected until finally, in their thirties, they hardly recognize the women they have become. Their situations have changed, from the sleepy countryside to bustling London, but their relationships and perspectives have also gradually shifted over time.

In a series of interconnected vignettes, Stewart focuses on the ordinary, slice-of-life moments — teenagers climbing up and lounging on a rooftop, friends catching up over pints at the pub, a woman riding the night bus home — and charges these scenes with a quiet intensity. Through keen observation and an ear for naturalistic dialogue, she reveals the complex natures of her characters, from their confidence to their insecurities, as they experience the joys and pains of growing up. Drawn in a variety of different styles, from watercolor to colored pencil to pen and ink, the style of this book echoes the evolution of the characters within.

About the Author

Lizzy Stewart is an illustrator and children's book author based in London.

Praise For…

Lizzy Stewart's book captures snapshots of life unfolding through small, evocative moments rich with meaning and mood. A beautiful, poignant and funny exploration of the unpredictability of life.
— Katriona Chapman (Breakwater)

Each of Lizzy Stewart's carefully fragmented stories deftly takes us on a journey from the long tedium of a teenage summer to the uncertainty and anxiety of adulthood. It is a quietly powerful book, and Stewart's well chosen and often witty dialogue goes straight to the heart. Her artwork is filmic and beautiful and the muted colors and huge, washed skies are the perfect backdrops to this story.
— Isabel Greenberg (Glass Town)
Product Details
ISBN: 9781683964353
ISBN-10: 1683964357
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
Pages: 168
Language: English