Read Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag by Ariel Schrag Online


Ariel Schrag concludes her turbulent ride through high school in the long-awaited final volume of her acclaimed series of compelling and strikingly honest autobiographical graphic novels. Set in Berkeley, California, Likewise takes us into the holy grail of teenagers, every bit as terrifying as it is liberating: senior year. Struggling with a major longing for her ex-girlAriel Schrag concludes her turbulent ride through high school in the long-awaited final volume of her acclaimed series of compelling and strikingly honest autobiographical graphic novels. Set in Berkeley, California, Likewise takes us into the holy grail of teenagers, every bit as terrifying as it is liberating: senior year. Struggling with a major longing for her ex-girlfriend who has gone away to college, her parents' post-divorce relationship, anxiety over the future, and all the graphic details of her complicated life, Ariel sets out to document everything and everyone. And when she discovers James Joyce, a whole new world of creativity opens up to her. Written with unabashed honesty, insight, and humor, Likewise is a brave account of one teenage girl's search for truth....

Title : Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781416552376
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag Reviews

  • Amy
    2018-11-04 00:36

    Wow. What a disappointment. I loved "Potential" and "Definition," but Schrag's senior year comic was self-indulgent, boring, repetitive, and, at 350+ pages, a chore to get through. Even at that length, many of the story threads felt like half the information was missing. Characters flitted in and out with no introduction or context, and there are several pages in which Ariel and a friend seem to be speaking to each other in their own made-up language, which is never explained for the reader. Too much of the book is taken up with Ariel obsessing and obsessing and obsessing over her ex in a really uninteresting way. There's also too much meta, as Schrag's growing fame from her first books creeps its way into her ability to tell this story -- the book becomes about itself. But not in a good way.

  • Kristina A
    2018-10-21 16:46

    "Plans:-Work on the comic til I die.-Die."These are the words of Ariel Schrag in her latest comic, her magnum opus, Likewise. Luckily she decided to finish the comic but continue to live. This comic is not for everyone -- maybe not even all lovers of her earlier books, Potential, Definition, and Awkward. Yes, these books -- each of which chronicles a different year of high school -- have their share of teen angst. But unless you have been a teenage girl or have a teenage daughter, you've probably never seen a meltdown of the proportions Ariel goes through in Likewise -- and even if you have seen one in life, you may not have seen one in print.Said meltdown is in reaction to her continued obsession with the loss of the infinitely unworthy Sally, a young woman whose vacillations and mixed signals will be familiar to anyone who has been in a truly bad relationship. Schrag flawlessly documents the extreme passion and self-loathing of which teenagers are capable; her ongoing struggles with her own internalized homophobia being the most painful aspect. However, as much as Schrag's uber-confessional style (begun with Awkward) continues to fascinate, what makes Likewise really special is the development of her artistic identity. Schrag discovers Flaubert and Joyce (FYI, I have a desire to write a conference paper on Ulysses in Likewise and Fun Home, and if I see you presenting a paper on this topic I will consider my idea stolen), and you can see her boldly inserting herself into this literary conversation, asserting to a friend at one point that she wants to make comics respectable as literature. Her inner dialogue -- which is ongoing -- often falls into incomplete sentences and almost unintelligible word association. She certainly takes to heart Joyce's desire to incorporate everything, all of life. I love the panels where she draws someone saying, "This isn't going to be in the comic, is it?" and proceeds to include everything after answering in the negative. Certainly she has come to see the painful part of being a nonfiction-writing artist, as she recognizes her own tendency to put art above people. (Luckily she's a very lovable character.) One of my favorite parts is when she stops in the middle of recording dialogue for the book (she documents herself working on both Potential and Likewise, and she uses a tape recorder to record both conversations and personal reflections) and begins talking to her future self, wondering how she is balancing college and working on the comic. It's a wonderful meta moment, and one especially striking from someone so young.

  • Ocean
    2018-11-18 23:34

    i will NEVER understand why queer people like this book! not only is much of it TERRIBLE, poorly illustrated inside jokes that aren't explained, it's pretty full of homophobia. this is not a queer classic. it sucks.

  • Megan
    2018-11-02 22:25

    definition self-indulgent

  • 菁华
    2018-10-27 16:47

    Wow, could I have picked a more inappropriate book to read after a break up? Pretty much all that happens in this whole book is Ariel pining for her ex, crying, obsessing, writing letters, deciding whether or not to send letters, wondering what her ex thinks of her comic, masturbating while reminiscing about the sex they had, wearing out every memory through endless replay, reading books her ex likes to try to get inside her mind, etc. I want to say it made me feel less pathetic by comparison but maybe it just opened whole new horizons of indulgent misery to consider. Like what if I just did nothing but cry, drink, smoke, and write bad poems about it? you cry, drink, take upsmoking (fire and soaking wet,like) try not to thinkOkay no. There's no excuse for bad art, whatever happens! And even with a vulnerability to hideous heartbreak stories this kind of fell flat. I did enjoy the use of different drawing techniques to render different states of mind (from loose and rough and urgent to a glowing detailed dream state - I'd say there are four or five distinct styles through the book). But mainly it felt like Schrag didn't have much to say - there's not really a story, just a lot of agonising. There's a lot less narrative and dialogue than the previous books (Awkward, Definition, Potential) and a lot more of a kind of staccato stream-of-consciousness semi-poetic writing which occasionally works really well but mostly doesn't. I got pretty bored with her internalised homophobia, arrogance, solipsism and writing about writing too.

  • Patricia
    2018-10-19 19:44

    I really tried to love this graphic novel, but it's too self-aware, too self-indulgent, and too poorly edited. Schrag started reading Ulysses and started tape-recording her interactions while working on this, the senior year volume of her high school chronicles, two factors which presumably had a hand in making this almost unreadable at points in its meticulous recreation of the stupid conversations that all high schoolers have. I like my coming-of-age memoirs with a bit more distance and a bit more crafting of narrative and characterization--unfortunately, in recording word for word her conversations with her friends and her tortured 17-year-old diary entries, Schrag produces what is essentially just a series of semi-incoherent Livejournal entries with pictures. Frankly, I don't think Schrag's work would have gotten the level of attention that it has if there wasn't such a tragic dearth of comic books/ graphic novels by and about queer girls. But Fun Home this is not.

  • Arminzerella
    2018-10-30 22:32

    This did not really appeal to me. It was too…wordy (for one), and the words were often confused and jumbled, and Ariel really dwelled way too much on her relationship with Sally – which she just wasn’t getting over. Maybe I’d have gotten into this if I were still dwelling myself, but I’m not. At one point Sally is telling Ariel that she always liked her (because she was such a cool person) and I wanted to think so, too, but I just wasn’t seeing what it was that was so great. Nor – during Ariel’s whole discussion of what “It” was and what it means to have “It” (a certain coolness not possessed by everyone) – could I see what Ariel or Sally or any of their friends had that made them particularly hip or cool or whatever. What Ariel has (or had in her high school years) is time to obsess, and an autobiographical graphic novel/comic is probably a good place to do that. I ended up skimming this, because I could only get into some of it, and there was so much repetition.

  • Matt
    2018-11-06 17:47

    Oh, how brilliant this would've been if it had been a couple hundred pages shorter. Following in the footsteps of Potential, this chronicles Schrag's last year of high school, but spends more time dwelling singularly on her struggle to finish writing and drawing Potential and her turbulent relationship with her 1st girlfriend (who is also her 1st ex-girlfriend). Potential managed to have just the right amount of high school angst, mixed with her sexual explorations, while Likewise is angst drawn and written while angsting over angsty things. It has its good moments, they just happened to be buried somewhere in the 400+ page count - the book's only real crime is it's length. But it's worth it just for Schrag's still-present humor and storytelling flair. If you skip over some sections though, no one will blame you.

  • Melody
    2018-11-03 21:51

    I loved her earlier books with all my heart. This one, I can't even finish- it's too raw, too emotionally painful, and far too stream-of-consciousness and meandering. I'm sad that it didn't work for me. I think that in a lot of ways it felt self-indulgent- I was on page 200 & something and nothing had happened except a lot of wallowing in loneliness for Sally. I found the drawing to be more interesting than in the earlier work- which is why I gave it two stars despite not finishing it. Schrag is taking some chances here, both with the text and, in my eyes, more successfully with the drawing. I think this was probably cathartic to write. I'm holding out for the next one, whatever it will be.

  • Rhoda
    2018-10-20 16:30

    Disclaimer: I know and adore this author. She is my husband's cousin. But the inner monologue in this book is so compelling, so authentic, and so deeply moving that anyone, whether they knew Ariel or not, would find Likewise impossible to put down.I devoured this book in two days. It is incredibly honest, complex, and gripping. There are many intertwined layers of meaning in every page, and, while the specifics of the story differ quite a bit from the specifics of the story of my own senior year of high school, the universal themes explored here make the book powerfully personal and relevant.Run, do not walk, to this book.

  • Tatiana
    2018-10-19 21:45

    You know, i really liked awkward and definition. potential was a little slower and less compelling, but's not that it's bad, it's that i already went through that sort of awful solitary world-shattering breakup and i don't particularly want to relive it through a graphic novel. plus, you know, i still keep falling for bad girls (not bad in general, just bad for me), and this is so entrenched in her one non-relationship fallout that it makes me mortified (for her), and uncomfortable. and because of that, loses a lot of the wit and fun cultural commentary that were in the earlier books.

  • Liz
    2018-10-30 22:51

    I thought I'd be really sympathetic to someone's stew of toxic thoughts and heartbreak and internalised homophobia following a breakup, but it turns out I have my limits. I don't really understand the appeal of "brutally honest" autobio things about people being self-absorbed fuckwits? like I can definitely be a dickhead, I'm only human, but I am always trying to be a good and compassionate person. narratives where that desire is missing fall so flat to me.

  • Beth
    2018-10-31 18:50

    Likewise is the autobiographical chroniclings of a girl in her senior year of high school who is trying to write a comic and missing her ex (who has already gone off to college) and pining for a straight girl. It's about applying to college and experimenting with boys and coping with parents who are splitting up and defining oneself as gay, and what that means. Immense appeal to a limited audience.

  • Sandra
    2018-11-17 20:52

    Holy fucking shit, guys.

  • dara
    2018-11-02 00:49

    A part of me wants to give this a higher rating for the chapters that I enjoyed, but the chapters that I didn't like were such a chore to read. There are moments that interest me: the chapters in which the Ariel deals with questions of her sexuality, whether or not she can identify with other lesbians, whether or not there is scientific reasoning behind homosexuality, whether or not heterosexual sex somehow offers something that she can never have with another female. It's almost heartbreaking to think of how it might feel to "lack" the ability to connect on the same physical level as heterosexuals--"lack" being in quotations because she felt as if lesbian sex was inferior to straight sex, but this is, of course, arguable. I even sympathized with the obsessive longing for her ex-girlfriend... for awhile. The first few times she's curled up in bed alone, eyes filling with tears, it tugged at my heartstrings. By the middle of the book though my sympathy and patience had worn thin. It doesn't help any that the object of her affection isn't very affectionate, but in fact rather detached, only displaying interest in an attempt to keep Ariel from breaking ties. This brings up one of the main topics of Likewise--the portrayal of friends, acquaintances and everyday situations in Ariel's writing and whether or not she is exploiting the aforementioned as well as her own emotions. She even entertains the idea of jumping in front of a car on the last day of class to give the book "a climax like no other." Although this idea was more of a joke, there are more subtle ways in which Ariel starts to manipulate situations with how it will translate into her comic in mind. So much of the book is just Ariel scribbling away on her comic, lamenting over misplacing her drawing compass, giving up on drawing in favor of masturbation--to an extent that I wonder how it can interest anyone other than the author. (I can relate to masturbation interfering with goals, but still....)The artwork and style are good--definitely an improvement if the covers of her previous books are any indication. However, there are many chapters in which the artwork seems unfinished, neglected no doubt in favor of masturbation. The carelessness of these sections makes me reluctant to give any of her previous work a chance. Her writing frequently switches from coherency to a stream of consciousness that is confusing to me, having not followed the events of her life previous to her senior year of high school. The flashbacks can be confusing on occasion as well. In her excitement to record her thoughts in the very moment that she has them, the time frame of events isn't always clear. It may be an accurate depiction of her life, but it is in need of editing. There's probably some value in recording minute and irrelevant details in a diary; however, I don't see a need to include moments that lead to nowhere, especially when publishing something with the expressed ambition of proving that graphic novels are a legitimate form of literature. Ariel sitting on the toilet is the kind of scene I could just as well do without seeing once, much less several times throughout the novel. It would be different if it in some way advanced the plot, but it doesn't. It's more like "O hai, look, this is me taking a shit." Except without any narration or humor. Some of the dialogue failed as well. The many conversations regarding "It" seemed juvenile and pretentious. I guess that's high school though. (If you're wondering what "It" is, then you must not possess "It," laugh out loud lame.)The book was disappointing in that I wanted to enjoy every moment of reading it, and didn't. It's easy to look back at the book with fondness for what it gets right, but in the end I have to remind myself that so many parts of it just dragged on needlessly. I would still recommend this to a certain niche, young lesbians in particular, but with the advice of skimming over (m)any chapters in which the reader loses interest.

  • Jenny Gonzalez- Blitz
    2018-10-25 23:49

    While Ariel's drawings always have a certain loose appeal, I found this story a little too wordy and all over the place and not always clear (like a certain type of resentment she sometimes exhibits towards LGBT culture -despite being part of it--and the teacher who councils LGBT teens is never quite explained)There are instances in the book which I'm not sure are supposed to chronicle a type of teen self-important intellectualism or actually embody it themselves--the early discussion of "IT" in the book comes to mind, and makes me wonder if her later interest in Joyce is simply another "IT" posture. Though I see other reviewers have considered the obsession with ex-girlfriend Sally Jults to be too much, I actually welcomed them in the book--they added a bit of concrete emotion to what is otherwise a lot of ennui and semi-intellectual rumination(in other words I'd rather hear about Sally than who/what is or isn't cool enough to be deemed "IT".) Sally's visits home themselves are interesting too--her expression of resentment over being constantly documented for Ariel's comics are one of the few instances we get of someone else's thoughts and feelings besides Ariel's own.

  • Hollowspine
    2018-11-07 17:36

    This was a very large and somewhat dense comic memoir. I really admire Ariel Schrag that she was able to take all the weird, embarrassing, great and horrible things that were happening in her high school life and put it all down in her comic.There were some aspects of teen life that I really recognized, some of the uncomfortableness with friends having a strange order, or meeting acquaintances of friends and feeling like you don't quite belong.However, I was more a shy kid so I didn't really have what Ariel described as "IT" in one of the more teen sections of the comic. I also recognized that and thought it was kind of funny, teens talking about something abstract in a circle, everyone kind of uncertain or certain. I sympathized with the preppy girl...who may or may not have had IT.I also never had any teacher that I felt comfortable enough to tell anything that was going on in my life that didn't have to do with school or my parents or other mundane things. Although I liked teachers I never got the sense that I should tell them anything or treat them like they might care about what happens to me.Overall, a very good read.

  • P.
    2018-11-04 16:39

    I hate giving this a low star rating, because Schrag continues being so honest here and really stretches in her writing, and it was emotionally resonant in that I really felt terrible for what she was going through - so much isolation, paranoia, continuing avoidant/anxious attachment conflict with Sally, questioning the existence of gayness and struggling with internalized homophobia. It is basically reading someone's breakdown in real time and it's painful. So hard to get through. She is clearly influenced by James Joyce so most of the inner narration is Joycean stream of consciousness and halfway through the narrative flow breaks and the rest of the book I read but I'm not sure what was real and when the things that I think happened happened. For me the appeal of a real life comic is experiencing someone's life, and reading this was like someone giving up on trying to make a piece of art and just illustrating her pain. But knowing that she seems to be doing better and has gone on to do more things made me feel less anxious.

  • Todd Croak-Falen
    2018-11-03 16:32

    I really hate to say this since I liked Ariel's previous work, but I simply couldn't get into "Likewise," and I'm stopping on page 240. Nothing much happens in this book -- just a lot of word-for-word transcriptions of high school conversations (complete with every "like" and "um").Also, at this point in Ariel's life, her previously published graphic novels were understandably affecting her social life, so it makes sense that she would work that element into the plot of this book. However, this would have been much more interesting to read about in a behind-the-scenes interview with her, instead of in the graphic novel itself. Reading a comic book about making a comic book is not exactly gripping.She did a few things with the artwork that I found interesting; it's an accomplishment, to be sure. I just wish the story had been as compelling as the previous graphic novels. It is on the strength of those other books that I even read as far as I did in this one.

  • Jim
    2018-11-07 21:42

    I finished this about a month ago and thought I had added a review, but apparently I didn't. As Ariel went through high school, her books became longer and longer and seemed to become more self obsessed. There are lot of things that I really liked about this book and yet at times I was wondering if I would finish it. The art work was uneven and displayed a lot of different styles. At times I began to wonder if she was either drawing while high or drunk or if she was just racing through pages to get them done. At other times, there is a genuine talent here with marvelous art work. It's clear from her books that Ariel really struggled through high school and I applaud her for her courage and for how she approached the unique challenges she faced in high school. I have been so impressed by her books, that I'm now a regular reader of her blog.

  • Eli
    2018-11-03 00:27

    After adoringAwkward and Definition: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel SchragandPotential , I anticipating loving this one, too. But after 100 pages of Schrag obsessing over her ex-girlfriend, I was 500% done with that. Especially once Schrag discoversUlyssesand fills the book with hundreds of words of poorly handled stream-of-consciousness spewing. Not something I was willing to slog through for 300 more pages.

  • Emilia P
    2018-11-13 23:32

    Oh Ariel, of course your awesome high school craziness had to end up in something of a real craziness. This book was too meta, too messy, too plotless, too high-falutin' high school philosophy, too everything. But you know, what the heck. It also seemed to borrow narratively from Ulysses and got me one step closer (I am still way way way too many steps away) to actually considering reading that book. It was weird and sad and sexual and obsessive and hollow, Schrag's life, and yet she's still making art about it and there's something really powerful about that. That even when you're basically crazy and lost, you can still create. That's kind of magical. Alternating illustration styles worked pretty well here, but nonetheless it took me weeks to read, and that's a little unacceptable. For balls, the 3 stars. Way to stick it out little lady.

  • Harmony Cox
    2018-10-22 16:45

    this book is admirable for it's ambition, but it is also damned by it. People who are not intimately familiar with Schragg's previous works will find it confusing, and people looking for concicesness or narrative arc will go home disappointed. It got boring and repetitive, and I was struggling to care about the characters by the end. I definitely just skimmed the last half. Theres a lot of good things in here- it's neat to see how Areiel's grown as an artist, for one -but this book was mostly a confusing mess. It can stand as a warning to wanna-be autobiographical comickers everywhere: nobody gives a shit about you or your friends unless what you do is interesting, so choose your anecdotes wisely. Also, maybe dont give a depressed high schooler a 7 grand advance to write a comic book.

  • Athena
    2018-10-20 00:47

    In Likewise, Ariel Schrag represents, in comic form, the emotional tumult of her senior year of high school (1997-98), centered on an ongoing relationship with a girl she was in love with who (sort of) just wanted to be friends. Some parts of it are really good, but other parts made me feel embarrassed for Ariel -- the way I would feel if I knew my zines and journals from high school had been compiled into a book that anyone could buy on Amazon. It can get pretty painful reading almost 400 pages by a highly self-aware teen about her internal universe. I can see how this could be an important book for queer teens -- I think I would have liked it a lot more when I was Ariel's age in the comic.

  • Whatsupchuck
    2018-10-28 23:50

    I picked these up (all of her books) to help me better understand the life and struggles of those in the LGBT community - a culture I was largely isolated from due to growing up in a small conservative town.All of Ariel's books are well written, incredibly honest, and great for those looking for more understanding of others. I also really enjoyed the illustrations which had a shaky, awkward feel to them which well captured the feeling of adolescence.I didn't care for them because they seemed to drag on; she captures so much detail of her High School years that I found myself losing interest. I think I would have liked them more if all would have been condensed into 1 or 2 books rather than one for each year of school.

  • Laura
    2018-10-29 20:46

    I had a hard time getting some of the train of thought writing that was rampant in Ariel's last volume, but I could definitely relate to most of this book, the main idea of the book, being hung up on someone who doesn't feel the same about you and being stuck in an addicted relationship. I like her art style, though at the end, she got sorta scribbly in places . . . Was well worth slogging through some of the weirder disjointed parts. I think I liked her first 2 volumes best out of the three.Her set once again reminds me I grew up in the wrong area of this country. I wish I'd gone to her high school, or at least gone to high school somewhere in California . . . :^(

  • Jarrah
    2018-10-21 16:40

    I was really disappointed with Likewise. I normally love graphic memoir but Schrag's stories felt really repetitive and while a memoir is by nature focused on the self, this felt like navel-gazing. The way she was so distraught over things that weren't big issues in the grand scheme of things did feel very true to high-school angst, but I just didn't really want to read about it. Overall it just felt like a chore to keep reading it, and the moments that were poignant, touching or funny felt too few and far between.

  • Eric
    2018-10-25 23:39

    A major disappointment. The previous books were thoughtful and thought-provoking insights into teen-age life. The last book in the series was dull, dull, dull, self-indulgent, pretentious, aesthetically numb. Schrage clearly was inspired by Joyce's Ulysses in all the worst ways: the length, the stream-of-conscious dialogue, the stroll through the underbelly of Berkeley. I hate to put a book down once I've started, I always hold out hope that it will turn a corner, but I had to read this in short spurts to get it down. A few redeeming moments kept me going, but overall awful.

  • Veronica
    2018-11-11 21:24

    I have been a fan of Schrag since her first mini (Awakward). Each installment of her Highschool autobio I liked more than the previous until this one.At times 'Likewise' is better than her previous work. It certainly delves deeper into Ariel's core and is even more emotionally honest (if that is possible). However in an attempt to make a more mature work, it became overly wordy with long passages of non-sequiturs that detracted from the narrative. I see the appeal and how many would view it as "growth" To me it came off as trying too hard.

  • Jeanne Thornton
    2018-11-04 19:43

    I can't tell if it's better than Potential or not--it's definitely terrifying in a way that I really didn't expect from Ariel Schrag, the way her life turns entirely into tape recording things for "Likewise" while drawing "Potential", panel after panel after panel of her sitting a drawing board grimly, attempts to manipulate her actual life to create a more "tight", "neat" ending for the comic--huge walls of text make this often a chore but a worthy one