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In: A Graphic Novel

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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 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 loudly, and stares at his navel in the hope that he will find it in there. But it isn’t until he learns to speak from the heart that he begins to find authentic human connections and is let in—to the worlds of the people he meets. Nick’s journey occurs alongside the beginnings of a relationship with Wren, a wry, spirited oncologist at a nearby hospital, whose work and life becomes painfully tangled with Nick’s. Illustrated in both color and black-and-white in McPhail’s instantly recognizable style, In elevates the graphic novel genre; it captures his trademark humor and compassion with a semi-autobiographical tale that is equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching—uncannily appropriate for our isolated times.


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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 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 loudly, and stares at his navel in the hope that he will find it in there. But it isn’t until he learns to speak from the heart that he begins to find authentic human connections and is let in—to the worlds of the people he meets. Nick’s journey occurs alongside the beginnings of a relationship with Wren, a wry, spirited oncologist at a nearby hospital, whose work and life becomes painfully tangled with Nick’s. Illustrated in both color and black-and-white in McPhail’s instantly recognizable style, In elevates the graphic novel genre; it captures his trademark humor and compassion with a semi-autobiographical tale that is equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching—uncannily appropriate for our isolated times.

30 review for In: A Graphic Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Nick Moss is determined to establish meaningful human connection--with his mom, his sister, his girlfriend, even the plumber who fixes his toilet--but is struggling. As he sees it, connecting well with others involves a formula that he only has to work just right to get his desired end result. When something happens that changes his life, he finally gets that desired result. In. is a debut graphic novel by Will McPhail, who's been drawing cartoons for The New Yorker since 2014. His mostly black-a Nick Moss is determined to establish meaningful human connection--with his mom, his sister, his girlfriend, even the plumber who fixes his toilet--but is struggling. As he sees it, connecting well with others involves a formula that he only has to work just right to get his desired end result. When something happens that changes his life, he finally gets that desired result. In. is a debut graphic novel by Will McPhail, who's been drawing cartoons for The New Yorker since 2014. His mostly black-and-white illustrations here are mesmerizing--highly expressive and full of life. He captured minute expressions and angles so well the illustrations almost seem to move. The story is good, but easily the most navel-gazing of any I've read in a graphic novel, with nothing of importance to say on the larger level; this is really just one man's awkward life experience. The best reason to read In. is for McPhail's illustrations. A never-ending book of just those wouldn't be enough.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    Funny, poignant, authentic. A graphic novel about isolation feels it would be a bit too on-the-nose right now but it was exactly what I needed to read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Wow! That packed a punch. Will is detached from most everyone, finding it very difficult to make a connection. When he does, the book changes to full color as Will starts to daydream about what it all means. Will's writing is witty and wry, his cartoon skills top notch conveying emotion and meaning with a look. He sucked me in for about 150 pages with his dry wit when he delivers an absolute gut-punch I didn't see coming. All the air escaped from my lungs as I inhaled the rest of the book. Just Wow! That packed a punch. Will is detached from most everyone, finding it very difficult to make a connection. When he does, the book changes to full color as Will starts to daydream about what it all means. Will's writing is witty and wry, his cartoon skills top notch conveying emotion and meaning with a look. He sucked me in for about 150 pages with his dry wit when he delivers an absolute gut-punch I didn't see coming. All the air escaped from my lungs as I inhaled the rest of the book. Just absolutely stunning. My book of the year so far. Received a review copy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    One of my top ten graphic novels of the year, In, a first graphic novel by Will McPhail, whose work is best known in the US through his New Yorker cartoons, maybe. I am told this is semi-autobiographical, as it features a guy who does illustration/art for a living. The guy has problems relating to people, doesn't know how to have conversations that get beyond the surface level, but he really wants to. He has had girlfriends, he has had a couple friends, but he is most connected to his sister, hi One of my top ten graphic novels of the year, In, a first graphic novel by Will McPhail, whose work is best known in the US through his New Yorker cartoons, maybe. I am told this is semi-autobiographical, as it features a guy who does illustration/art for a living. The guy has problems relating to people, doesn't know how to have conversations that get beyond the surface level, but he really wants to. He has had girlfriends, he has had a couple friends, but he is most connected to his sister, his nephew, and his mom, who understand him as socially distant though friendly, but they too know he needs to make real and deeper connections with humans. At one point he meets and begins dating a woman, though he doesn't yet know how to talk with her. She's an oncologist, so he begins to ask her about that work, though--given his well-ingrained personality--his inclination is just to joke around a bit and have sex. But he knows this is not enough for her, nor for him. Then someone close to him gets sick--okay, it's cancer--so he needs to learn how to make connections there; this pushes him, makes it urgent. Much of this is very moving; at one point his young nephew says he wants to see him more, and it is a poignant moment. All of it is delicately balancing wry humor (such as about coffee shops with silly names he visits daily) with poignancy. It's sad, it's funny, and sweet. The drawing is amazing, most of in black and white, except when he makes a human connection--asks good questions of others, mainly--we go into color (as with the Wizard of Oz--"that's a horse of a different color!"), and the paneled images have emotional resonance, are lyrical, more layered, more abstract. Is the oncologist/cancer connection too "convenient" for the narrative (but then I think, if McPhail has written a semi-autobiographical story, then my comment may be perceived as insensitive)?! Well, this point occurred to me as I read it, but to tell you the truth I was very moved by all of it, so I don't object to it on any grounds. Powerful, powerful book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    Hilarious and heartfelt with impressive artwork throughout!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    On every page Will McPhail pours gentle millennial satire over his characters like salted caramel over an angry lobster melt – his stand-in Nick gloomily says to himself stuff like I’m going to spend the entire day in coffee shops searching for something that I’m not emotionally intelligent enough to define Or I tend to work in public places partly to escape the porn in my apartment Like in any romcom he meets a young woman and okay... I see now that maybe it is a bit groanworthy that she turns out On every page Will McPhail pours gentle millennial satire over his characters like salted caramel over an angry lobster melt – his stand-in Nick gloomily says to himself stuff like I’m going to spend the entire day in coffee shops searching for something that I’m not emotionally intelligent enough to define Or I tend to work in public places partly to escape the porn in my apartment Like in any romcom he meets a young woman and okay... I see now that maybe it is a bit groanworthy that she turns out to be a sexy oncologist... Hmm. Actually this book is like a souffle, light, airy, graceful, and you better eat it quick. Could be if you think too much about it, it will deflate into a sticky mess. I loved it. Oh, and Mr McPhail's art is exquisite.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    This is the kind of story that shows what graphic novels can do as a medium. It's about human connection and feeling life as it comes, breaking through the distancing and alienation of post-postmodern existence and the deadening of daily life and it's use of black and white to reflect emotional distance and alienation paired with color and soaring fantasy architecture to depict those moments of real connection is amazing. the story could easily have been twee and annoying, but it has real emotio This is the kind of story that shows what graphic novels can do as a medium. It's about human connection and feeling life as it comes, breaking through the distancing and alienation of post-postmodern existence and the deadening of daily life and it's use of black and white to reflect emotional distance and alienation paired with color and soaring fantasy architecture to depict those moments of real connection is amazing. the story could easily have been twee and annoying, but it has real emotional impact and I want to read this over and over again. Read this as an ARC and immediately went out and bought a hard copy and I'll likely be giving this to many people as a Christmas present this year. **Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Next up is 'Twill & Sons.' Either a coffee shop or a barbers. But it could also be the movie 'Dunkirk.' Who is Twill? Je ne sais pas. Who are the sons? Perhaps they are the translucent stable boys behind the counter who leak cold brew from crystal tanks. Their hair is wet and like new born fish, their twitching organs are clearly visible through their paper skin. The house blend is aged in the cavities of reclaimed string instruments and their croissants ask not what they can do for you, but what Next up is 'Twill & Sons.' Either a coffee shop or a barbers. But it could also be the movie 'Dunkirk.' Who is Twill? Je ne sais pas. Who are the sons? Perhaps they are the translucent stable boys behind the counter who leak cold brew from crystal tanks. Their hair is wet and like new born fish, their twitching organs are clearly visible through their paper skin. The house blend is aged in the cavities of reclaimed string instruments and their croissants ask not what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. No wifi. Which is fine. Barista: "Twill & Sons is a cashless society." Nick: "How do I...?" Barista: "It's a barter and exchange system. I can trade you this coffee for a commodity or service of equal value." *Nick stares at the barista* Barista: "We also take Apple Pay." pg. 35 When I first started reading this, I was delighted. It's so smart, cute, interesting. McPhail presents us with a white male MC who loves coffee and lives in the city and yearns for real human connections. He's charming, and the way his facial expressions are drawn puts a sparkle on the whole book. We start off with him searching for a bar at night to be sad in. It's called "Your Friends Have Kids Bar." The window says, "Weaponised Self-Awareness and Cocktails." McPhail often uses buildings Nick (our MC) passes by as means of jokes. It's honestly hilarious and just subtle enough not to be annoying. Nick says he doesn't want a bar to be sad in because he's sad. That would be absurd. He wants it because he wants to perform the role of 'sad man being sad in a bar.' It's hilarious. The joy that pours out of his face when the bartender buys his hangdog act and asks "Rough Day?" is so adorable. This level of humor is on-point and charming. It's at this bar, performing 'sad man' when Nick meets an amazing woman. She's there on a date with another man, but she's Black, she's bold, she's smart, and she's funny. You can tell she's taken the breath right out of Nick who is almost unsure of how to proceed and visibly can't believe how lucky he is to even be talking to this woman. When her date comes over to get her, his face falls and your face - the reader's face - falls. But then hope is injected in the situation again when she sends him a beer from her table (an inside joke from earlier) and you know this isn't the end of it. You hope this isn't the end of it. As the book goes on, you realize that Nick is obsessed with the idea that all of his social interactions are 'performed' and he doesn't feel a genuine connection to people. He's determined to have more 'real,' intimate interactions with people. This can sometimes be awkward, as when he tries to connect with a plumber who comes by to fix his toilet. Every time Nick has (what he considers) a 'real' interaction' with someone, the book (which is printed in black and white) suddenly bursts into colors for a short time. It's a neat trick, if an old one. But sometimes I failed to see what Nick was worried about. Sure, a lot of his interactions are 'performed.' All of ours are. Asking "How are you?" "Fine." "Can you believe the weather we're having?" Basic politeness. Not every interaction can be a deep, meaningful discourse on the human experience, nor should it be... something I think Nick has a hard time grasping. His deafness to this fact leads for some really awkward scenarios, like when he asks a naked Wren - right before they start having sex - (view spoiler)[ "How do you tell someone they have cancer?" "What the fuck?" Wren replies. (hide spoiler)] To her credit, she doesn't kick him out of bed. Also, his interactions with Wren are in black-and-white even though IMO they have charming, funny conversations which are rich in happiness. When his sister asks about Wren, we get this: "Who is she? What's she like?" "Wren and I don't know." "Oh, you're not feeling it?" "No. I am. I just don't know what she's like." pg. 134 Come on, man. Sure you do. She's bold and funny and intelligent. She's obviously a miracle come into your life. Why this lukewarm evasion with your sister? Can you not see that Wren is amazing? I know you can. Sometimes I wondered what was wrong with Nick. So the first half of this GN is so funny, clever, novel, and charming. I was ecstatic. Every new thing about Nick that I learned delighted me. What happens in the second half, you ask? It devolves into a (view spoiler)[cancer book. (hide spoiler)] There's nothing wrong with (view spoiler)[cancer books (hide spoiler)] , but it was jarring because I had no idea that's where this book was going, even though I should have after Wren told Nick she was (view spoiler)[an oncologist. (hide spoiler)] And it's fine, it's fine that the book ends that way but it wasn't the joyful, clever, innovative narrative I was hoping for. Instead, it was (view spoiler)[cancer. (hide spoiler)] This put a damper on things. In the end, I think I'm still going to give it five stars, although my enthusiasm for this awesome plot we were having dimmed once it was turned into a (view spoiler)[cancer book (hide spoiler)] . I'm going to give it five stars because it is just SO FRESH and McPhail's writing is so on-point. His illustrations are also great. He should be very proud of himself. Do you hear me, Will McPhail? Be very proud of yourself and take this moment to revel in creating a very fresh and well done GN. TL;DR Even though this book turned from a delightful, clever breath-of-fresh air into a (view spoiler)[cancer book (hide spoiler)] , I still think this was smart, funny, and well-made. Maybe the sharp right turn into (view spoiler)[cancerland (hide spoiler)] might not bother other people, I was bummed by it. I was hoping for a solid, deep, interesting yet funny GN about someone with a unique perspective, rather than what it ended up being. Five stars, I'd still strongly recommend it but it's not what you expect from the first half.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    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 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 cartoonist, as he tries to find a meaningful relationship, tries to find his place in life, and navigate his mother's illness. The book is very funny, a dry kind of humour, that aches as much as it makes you laugh. The portion of the book that handles his mother's illness is really only introduced after you've met the mother a couple of times already, which is a smart decision. It is where the humour dissipates and real life hits. Funny and moving. Not bad at all. (Kindly received an ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Superb

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liam

    February 2021 Reading Wrap-Up This is my 2nd advanced reader copy (ARC) review. This means I received this ebook for free, in exchange for this review by Netgalley. I'm not financially motivated, as I read library books, so I only read ARCs I actually think will be good enough for me to rate and review honestly. OK. So I've read over 100 indie comics and have a pretty strong understanding of what is good in this genre. This is truly a fantastic debut graphic novel. This is REALLY good as a debut February 2021 Reading Wrap-Up This is my 2nd advanced reader copy (ARC) review. This means I received this ebook for free, in exchange for this review by Netgalley. I'm not financially motivated, as I read library books, so I only read ARCs I actually think will be good enough for me to rate and review honestly. OK. So I've read over 100 indie comics and have a pretty strong understanding of what is good in this genre. This is truly a fantastic debut graphic novel. This is REALLY good as a debut comic. It's operating on the level of established comic writers. It's very much like a grown-up version of Blankets by Craig Thompson, or like a "male-version" of The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon, or like a less melodramatic everyman version of The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. It's already a very good screenplay to one of those romcoms featuring Hugh Grant like Notting Hill. It's one of few indie comics that addresses being an almost thirty-something, the age at which you truly must become an adult. I do prefer things to be more developed, complex, mature and dark but that's personal preference, if it were more up my street I think it wouldn't be as widely accessible as it is! This has adult themes but is very suitable for young teenagers. It's more emotional than I thought. I'm quite emotionally hardened given I read a lot of existential philosophy and some of the cringey YA comics normally underwhelm me in trying to communicate revelations deeper than their form of articulation. But the ending to this is very well choreographed and powerful. It surprised me, because it begins with some slightly clichéd dialogues, but the imagery later on is really good and accessible to a lot of readers. It's very relaxed and down-to-earth and is trying to communicate something important and universal to anyone who's ever wanted to deeply connect with people. Small point to the author, next time give your book a more searchable title, it'll make it easier to market and search for on the internet! A subtitle would've gotten around it. Serious comics readers, please find this. It may read as a 3* casual read to you at worst, but when you consider it as a debut, and consider whether it is complete as a narrative and the potential for it to be developed, you'll realize that even were it mediocre it is phenomenally archetypal! Keep an eye on this author, and Nick Drnaso, too. They're both young graphic artists showing great progress for the indie comics scene, I very much look forward to comics like these getting even more serious, real, explicit, punchy, and raw.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    3.5 stars Every so often I need to delve into a graphic novel. I have my favorite graphic storytellers and graphic artists, but I also like to sample new authors. Mcphail is new to me. Having only read this one graphic novel McPhail is still a bit of a stranger to me - I am unsure at this point as to how to interpret him. The essence of the novel is a man who does not fit in. He knows he is on the outside of family, of friends, of life. He reacts to life the way he thinks others believe he should 3.5 stars Every so often I need to delve into a graphic novel. I have my favorite graphic storytellers and graphic artists, but I also like to sample new authors. Mcphail is new to me. Having only read this one graphic novel McPhail is still a bit of a stranger to me - I am unsure at this point as to how to interpret him. The essence of the novel is a man who does not fit in. He knows he is on the outside of family, of friends, of life. He reacts to life the way he thinks others believe he should. Nothing fulfills him - even his favorite coffee shops. But once he begins to be authentic and speak from his heart, his life begins to change. But was it too late to relate to his dying mother and too late to sustain a relationship with his girlfriend. What did change really do for him? Was it too little too late?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    An entitled and oblivious white manchild/artist trundles through life convinced his biggest problem is he is not talking honestly to others. On top of the oh-so-witty dialogue, several symbol-laden dream-sequence type scenes and a big, dumb coincidence near the end, there is also an attempt to mash up the manic pixie girl and magical negro tropes into a single character. Worst of all everyone is drawn with hideous circular googly eyes. Everything else looks fine, but it's like a different person An entitled and oblivious white manchild/artist trundles through life convinced his biggest problem is he is not talking honestly to others. On top of the oh-so-witty dialogue, several symbol-laden dream-sequence type scenes and a big, dumb coincidence near the end, there is also an attempt to mash up the manic pixie girl and magical negro tropes into a single character. Worst of all everyone is drawn with hideous circular googly eyes. Everything else looks fine, but it's like a different person came in to erase and redraw all the eyes in a frantic all-nighter. So distracting. Super meh.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    4.5, rounded down. I read very few graphic novels (one or two a year, at most), but this is a very strong debut and a very good use of the medium. I loved the droll humor (until things turn rather dark and tragic), and the color palette on the non-b&w panels is amazing. The autobiographical protagonist, Nick, is extremely relatable, and the situation of feeling isolated and disconnected will resonate with almost everyone after 15 months of pandemic quarantine. Reading this on a Kindle, however, p 4.5, rounded down. I read very few graphic novels (one or two a year, at most), but this is a very strong debut and a very good use of the medium. I loved the droll humor (until things turn rather dark and tragic), and the color palette on the non-b&w panels is amazing. The autobiographical protagonist, Nick, is extremely relatable, and the situation of feeling isolated and disconnected will resonate with almost everyone after 15 months of pandemic quarantine. Reading this on a Kindle, however, proved a mire problematic, as the panels and print were rather small and hard to read... a print copy would probably be preferable and solve that problem. My sincere thanks to Netgalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. and the author for the ARC in exchange for this honest and enthusiastic review. I certainly look forward to whatever else McPhail publishes in the future.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Nick never knows the right thing to say. The bachelor artist’s well-intentioned thoughts remain unvoiced, such that all he can manage is small talk. Whether he’s on a subway train, interacting with his mom and sister, or sitting in a bar with a tongue-in-cheek name (like “Your Friends Have Kids” or “Gentrificchiato”), he’s conscious of being the clichéd guy who’s too clueless or pathetic to make a real connection with another human being. That starts to change when he meets Wren, a Black doctor Nick never knows the right thing to say. The bachelor artist’s well-intentioned thoughts remain unvoiced, such that all he can manage is small talk. Whether he’s on a subway train, interacting with his mom and sister, or sitting in a bar with a tongue-in-cheek name (like “Your Friends Have Kids” or “Gentrificchiato”), he’s conscious of being the clichéd guy who’s too clueless or pathetic to make a real connection with another human being. That starts to change when he meets Wren, a Black doctor who instantly sees past all his pretence. In makes strategic use of colour spreads. “Say something that matters,” Nick scolds himself, and on the rare occasions when he does figure out what to say or ask – the magic words that elicit an honest response – it’s as if a new world opens up. These full-colour breakthrough scenes are like dream sequences, filled with symbols such as a waterfall, icy cliff, or half-submerged building with classical façade. Each is heralded by a close-up image on the other person’s eyes: being literally close enough to see their eye colour means being metaphorically close enough to be let in. Nick achieves these moments with everyone from the plumber to his four-year-old nephew. Alternately laugh-out-loud funny and tender, McPhail’s debut novel is as hip as it is genuine. It’s a spot-on picture of modern life in a generic city. I especially loved the few pages when Nick is on a Zoom call with carefully ironed shirt but no trousers and the potential employers on the other end get so lost in their own jargon that they forget he’s there. His banter with Wren or with his sister reveals a lot about these characters, but there’s also an amazing 12-page wordless sequence late on that conveys so much. While I’d recommend this to readers of Alison Bechdel, Craig Thompson, and Chris Ware (and expect it to have a lot in common with Kristen Radtke’s forthcoming Seek You: A Journey through American Loneliness), it’s perfect for those brand new to graphic novels, too – a good old-fashioned story, with all the emotional range of Writers & Lovers. I hope it’ll be a wildcard entry on the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist. Originally published, with images, on my blog, Bookish Beck.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maritina Mela

    *3.5/5 In this graphic novel, we follow Nick. Nick is an illustrationist for a weekly newspaper. His whole life, he found making meaningful connections with other people, very difficult. To him, social interactions feel like he's playing a part at a theater. He realises simple things that used to give him joy, no longer do that. And even when he does things he likes, he tends to feel shame afterwards. He constantly tries to connect to other people and when he - kind of accidentally - makes a connect *3.5/5 In this graphic novel, we follow Nick. Nick is an illustrationist for a weekly newspaper. His whole life, he found making meaningful connections with other people, very difficult. To him, social interactions feel like he's playing a part at a theater. He realises simple things that used to give him joy, no longer do that. And even when he does things he likes, he tends to feel shame afterwards. He constantly tries to connect to other people and when he - kind of accidentally - makes a connection to a plumber, by asking him about his life and seeming genuinely interested, he begins to have positive feelings about human connection. He constantly tries to reach out to his sister and his mother, but as he is new to this whole thing, these intentions are met with "It's okay, you don't have to pretend like you care". He keeps on insisting and his attempts finally have a positive outcome, as his nephew grows to view him as a father figure and his mother opens up to him about having cancer. Nick along with his sister, accompany their mother throughout her journey as a cancer patient and when she unfortunately dies, he is more devastated at what parts of her he is never going to discover, now that he has finally stopped seeing human interaction as a performance, but his mother isn't with him. This is a lovely graphic novel about a detached man in his 20s, mental health, human relationships and family. I loved the dialogue and the fact that this whole subject is treated with respect. I also loved the art style, both the black and white and the coloured illustrations. This one also features great representation of being a single mother (both Nick's mom and sister are single mothers) and an interracial relationship, since Nick dates a black woman, Wren, a very smart and quirky character. The only downside to this, were the blank pages throughout the story. At the beginning, I thought it was an artistic choice, but near the end, I could tell that there was something wrong with the e-book itself. Other than that, this was a positive reading experience. If you made it this far, congratulations! 'Til next time, take care :) :) :) I received a free e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    zilver

    “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 “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 understanding why no one likes him. But then... it’s not that. At all. One of “In”’s strong points is the fact that it doesn’t try to hang its main character’s issues on anything. Considering he’s supposed to be a millennial, the potential for making social media and phone-to-hand connection the Big Bad seems imminent. But it’s not. Nick longs for solitude. No, that’s not entirely true. He longs to be unobserved. To feel without necessarily having that feeling be seen and approved by others. He uses an example from his childhood, the experience of being in a water park and going through the tunnels alone. He feels great there, feels the desire to share that feeling with his friends. And as soon as they’re there, it’s not the same anymore. A ripple effect, then, and Nick is 20-something and doesn’t know how to share anymore, because what will that lead to? What’s that invisible barrier that stops him from talking to family, and to anyone, really? For us as readers the barrier is manifested literally, each frame bordered by a dark, solid line. That is, until Nick - fragmentarily - starts to open up, and the lines of not only the border, but also his own person start to blur, and we as readers start to actually learn more about him and his family. And he/we learn(s) that even if you try, it still might not be easy. In a conversation I think most children will have, whether internally or in real life, as they grow up and learn to start to see their parents, Nick says to his mother, “I’m trying to talk about you.” She says, “You weren’t asking about me.” He says he was, and she says, “I’m not just who I am to you, Nick.” And his world opens up. There are stories that work when they are made into graphic novels. Then there are stories that are made to be told as graphic novels. This is definitely the latter. The art style, the use of framing and colour, the layout are all meaningful and intentional at every turn of the page. The feeling of emptiness and then space that are created when Nick shifts between not-feeling and feeling become tangible. I love graphic novels that are this purposeful. And on top of that this book is just really funny. The coffee shop jokes got me every time. It teased millennial culture without being an asshole about the things that matter. I laughed out loud multiple times. A bit cheeky, a bit tongue-in-cheek. It really worked for me. I think the concept as a whole could’ve been driven further, deeper. I’d maybe have liked it to hollow me out a tad more than it did. But it was really good nonetheless. Not to go full circle here, but now that I think about it, maybe “In” isn’t about detachment. It’s about what happens when that detachment ends (because something does). I received a free ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joachim Stoop

    One of the best graphic novels I've ever read! It ticked more boxes than expected: - Witty (think Adrian Tomine) - A glorious take on everyday modern life - With the right timing and dosis of artful interludes - Surprisingly emotional and engaging layer One of the best graphic novels I've ever read! It ticked more boxes than expected: - Witty (think Adrian Tomine) - A glorious take on everyday modern life - With the right timing and dosis of artful interludes - Surprisingly emotional and engaging layer

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Lee

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC copy of 'In'. A short relaxing read about feeling jaded by city life and not being able to have meaningful conversations with strangers and family alike. But besides the funny café names, it was kind of dull. The b/w to color transitions for the ‘in’ moments felt a little too grand for how basic the realizations were. I think it was an ordinary story that a lot of people could relate to, but in the end there wasn't much that was memorable. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC copy of 'In'. A short relaxing read about feeling jaded by city life and not being able to have meaningful conversations with strangers and family alike. But besides the funny café names, it was kind of dull. The b/w to color transitions for the ‘in’ moments felt a little too grand for how basic the realizations were. I think it was an ordinary story that a lot of people could relate to, but in the end there wasn't much that was memorable.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    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 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 an ARC and now you can see the promised review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom LA

    Art : phenomenal. Body positions and facial expressions are rich with attention to the details. I also loved the big round eyes, that is probably the feature that convinced me to buy the book. Story : shallow, immature and self-centered. Some funny jokes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anda

    I swear I am not that emotional, but some books ... some books simply get to me in ways I can't even define. Through NetGalley I got my hands on an ARC for this graphic novel. Given that it was an arc I won't comment on misspellings or other such mishaps, I will only comment on the content. It was on point. It talks about conversations and connections. About how so few of the dialogues we have actually transmit something more, something other than the superficial hi/hello/how are you/fine/ you?/fi I swear I am not that emotional, but some books ... some books simply get to me in ways I can't even define. Through NetGalley I got my hands on an ARC for this graphic novel. Given that it was an arc I won't comment on misspellings or other such mishaps, I will only comment on the content. It was on point. It talks about conversations and connections. About how so few of the dialogues we have actually transmit something more, something other than the superficial hi/hello/how are you/fine/ you?/fine/cool/cool. Sure, sometimes that's the very socially acceptable and required level of depth. But I can't help but notice how even among people one considers friends, conversations seem to lack a certain quality, a certain authenticity to it. 'In' is the story of Nick, Nick who feels completely detached in his life. Nick who goes from coffee shop to coffee shop, who looks at people and wishes he could ask something of value .. yet, while his brain screams "ask!", his mouth stays shut. He's looking for some form of connection but is constantly sabotaged by.. well, himself. It touches a topic that is especially important to me, that of children-parents relationships. I remember at one point in my life realizing I didn't know my grandparents and parents outside their identity of being my family. Before being my family, they've been their very own people.. and that got lost somewhere along the way. The idea of losing them without knowing who they were numbed me. So I started asking questions... It was hard. Hard as hell. Yet so worth it. And I loved it how this is specifically talked about in here. It goes on to talk about a lot of things but I won't spoil it... the illustrations are beautiful, the concept and use of color.. it made what's left of the artist in me rejoice. As you can see, I got invested in this for very personal reasons... you may not care or feel like conversations and human connections on that level are important to you. Take it with a grain of salt. But if you, let's say, stumble upon this one, don't let it escape. It's so, so simple and unpretentious you can't not like it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jazzy Lemon

    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 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 can identify with. All the stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fatima

    I'm struggling to think of the words to sum up my thoughts on this graphic novel. I want to say it was a fun read because I was basically grinning and laughing to myself throughout most of the book. But that might give the impression that this is a light-hearted, fluffy graphic novel, which it definitely isn't. The author so perfectly captures the untethered feeling of young adulthood, where you sometimes feel like you're going through the motions and everybody else has things together but you d I'm struggling to think of the words to sum up my thoughts on this graphic novel. I want to say it was a fun read because I was basically grinning and laughing to myself throughout most of the book. But that might give the impression that this is a light-hearted, fluffy graphic novel, which it definitely isn't. The author so perfectly captures the untethered feeling of young adulthood, where you sometimes feel like you're going through the motions and everybody else has things together but you don't. The art plus the main character, Nick's, inner monologue really encapsulated the familiar melancholy that seeps in when you feel you're not quite living authentically, and Nick's dissection of his social interactions and sense of detachment when making meaningless small talk felt so relatable. I loved how the author uses the art to capture and reflect these really complex feelings, not only through the way that the various scenes are drawn and the little details but also through the addition of the little coloured interludes that break up the otherwise black and white illustrations whenever Nick makes a meaningful connection. This is definitely a book I'll be thinking about for a while and coming back to, and I'd really recommend it as a quick, fairly easy read that's funny yet covers themes that feel really relatable to the young adult experience. I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This caught my eye though I was unfamiliar with Will McPhail, and I really enjoyed it. It is deep and moving by the end but has plenty of humor throughout, especially the coffee shop names. I admire his ability to capture awkward expressions, and how the eyes, the least detailed part, were so expressive.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A young man looking for meaning in life beyond the superficial. He wants to know how to be a part of the In always feeling like he is part of the Out. How that is possible I do not know because, if you are Out, most other people that are part of the Out do not announce they are part of the Out, so you tend to be a part of the Out on your own. Did you understand that? Okay, good. He begins this adventure by having an impromptu conversation with a plumber. A deeply flinching conversation with said A young man looking for meaning in life beyond the superficial. He wants to know how to be a part of the In always feeling like he is part of the Out. How that is possible I do not know because, if you are Out, most other people that are part of the Out do not announce they are part of the Out, so you tend to be a part of the Out on your own. Did you understand that? Okay, good. He begins this adventure by having an impromptu conversation with a plumber. A deeply flinching conversation with said plumber. Surprise, Surprise. The plumber responds. Conversation had. On to the next. And so it goes. He continues to attempt these conversations. Some people respond honestly without reaction and others refuse and shut him down immediately. Along the way, he meets a woman at bar and begin an off hand relationship with very little intimacy (my definition of intimacy and yours may be different). She opens his eyes to the truth of this journey he started. He had revolved his inquisitiveness around himself and how he fits. Nothing about how those around him fit. Unfortunately, through a devastating loss, he sees exactly how much he is missing and that it is not necessarily about the In and Out, but about the all. The artwork is beautiful. The transition from black and white to color when he, or any other character in this work, come to an 'AHA" moment is perfect. I was able to fathom the depth of understanding or struggle the characters were dealing with at that moment. I enjoyed the plot of the story. I actually feel like the main character and had woken up to find what I was looking for was not what I thought it should be. I really liked this. Very much. Thanks to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Will McPhail for an ARC in return for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    E.R. Carlin

    Not for me. At one point Nick thinks, "I LIKE MY COFFEE TO TASTE LIKE I'M BEING BREASTFED BY THE HONEY MONSTER" (65). Nick is a mildly unlikeable narrator; he's cluelessly male-centered, somewhat classist, and a consciously dimwitted bad penny. I liked the artwork, but the concept of black-and-white/ color was poorly executed. 'IN.' by Will McPhail was just too dull for this reader. Not for me. At one point Nick thinks, "I LIKE MY COFFEE TO TASTE LIKE I'M BEING BREASTFED BY THE HONEY MONSTER" (65). Nick is a mildly unlikeable narrator; he's cluelessly male-centered, somewhat classist, and a consciously dimwitted bad penny. I liked the artwork, but the concept of black-and-white/ color was poorly executed. 'IN.' by Will McPhail was just too dull for this reader.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Irina

    I loved it. Every page of it— whether I was laughing or crying.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Readwithethel

    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 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 truly living it. Nick and Wren made me laugh a lot and their journey was really interesting. I liked the drawings a lot, there were a lot of emotions in there, especially in the coloured pages that contained no dialogue, there was a lot of things expressed there. The art was very well used and conveyed a lot of ideas without having to write them down explicitly. If you read this graphic novel, I recommend you to observe every drawing because there is often a hidden joke that you’ll miss if you go too fast. This is a story that was made to be told through art. I absolutely recommend this book, especially to millennials of course as they will have an easier time identifying with the main characters, but also to everyone else. 5/5 Thank you Netgalley for this eArc in exchange of my honest opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I requested this to review from Netgalley not expecting much to come from it - I really was only interested because the cover looked cool and I read it was about being a millenial I think? - but I was really blown away by this simple but powerful story. I related a lot to the main character and I think what was so incredible was the use of black and white versus color. The story focuses on a guy named Nick who basically is fed up with how surface level his and everyone else's lives are around hi I requested this to review from Netgalley not expecting much to come from it - I really was only interested because the cover looked cool and I read it was about being a millenial I think? - but I was really blown away by this simple but powerful story. I related a lot to the main character and I think what was so incredible was the use of black and white versus color. The story focuses on a guy named Nick who basically is fed up with how surface level his and everyone else's lives are around him so he starts seeking out real connections with people by asking them questions. As someone who is a five on the enneagram who is constantly looking for deeper connections and trying to connect better with people, I really loved how this story played out. There was so much power in shifting between black and white and color, and I think it made me realize that like...creating connections and paying attention to other people really isn't as monumental and difficult as it feels. So much of being a human and living in relationship with others is knowing to ask questions and letting yourself be vulnerable. Even though this is a short lil book, I felt really comforted by it and I think I will revisit it in the future because it was really helpful to me! I definitely recommend it!!

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