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Pub Date 18 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 20 Feb 2023

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16-year-old Raquel lives in a small town in Portugal, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Her parents are divorced and she’s just been suspended for cursing out a school aide asking about her father’s new marriage. She has two best friends, Luísa and Fred, but wants something more.


Then, from afar, she sees Pardalita, a senior and a gifted artist who’s moving to Lisbon to study in the fall. The two girls get to know each other while working on a play. And Raquel falls in love. 


From author/artist Joana Estrela comes Pardalita, a beautiful slice-of-life story that is This One Summer meets Ursula K. Le Guin’s Very Far Away from Anywhere Else, told in flashbacks and present day action. Using a gorgeous blend of prose poems, illustrations, and graphic novel format, Estrela captures the feeling of being a teenager in a way that feels gentle, joyful, and real.

16-year-old Raquel lives in a small town in Portugal, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Her parents are divorced and she’s just been suspended for cursing out a school...

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EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781646142569
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 116 members

Featured Reviews

Miigweetch NetGalley and Em Querido for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Pardalita is a queer coming of age story told in graphic novel format, with short paragraphs of text interspersed. I found it quick and easy to read. The story centers around 16-year old Raquel, who lives in a small town in Portugal. Raquel joins a community theatre group in order to get closer to her crush, the titular Pardalita.

I liked the story and it felt relatable; anyone who has struggled to identify or come to terms with their sexuality can empathize with Raquel as she pieces together her feelings for her classmate, deals with her mother’s abrupt switch to vegetarianism (so unfair - couldn’t mom wait until she left for college?), and grapples with stage fright. I recommend this book to teen and young adult readers, as well as anyone who enjoys reading comics that are not about superheroes.

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This was a pretty standard queer coming-of-age graphic novel until it got closer to the end of the story. The end is where the story really shined. I loved the quiet and slow way that everything developed and grew towards a conclusion. I loved the sparse artwork and the limited color palette.

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I'm not always the hugest fan of simplistic, black and white art styles in a graphic novel. It's just hard to show emotion through that, so it doesn't always come across to me. But here it really did, which I'm very impressed by.

The story is very understated and a lot is left unsaid, but I really enjoyed that. You just follow the MC through her daily life, and I thought it was really well done. I also thought the translation was great!

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This graphic novel is beautifully done. A quiet and introspective story about a girl discovering her sexuality. The translator did an excellent job capturing the story Estrela was telling.

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This graphic novel was so immersive.
I absolutely loved the style used for both texts and drawings.

How everything is introduced with irregular english verbs and then the written parts all have one of those to connect the pieces of the story.
And also, the final sequence of drawings is stunning.

The whole book has a slow pace and pacific kind of feel, I felt super relaxed while enjoying this read.
Definitely an enexpected style but that worked very well with the concept created.

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I'm so weak for coming-of-age teenage romance. You have no idea.

Thanks to Netgalley for this advanced reading copy.

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This was great! If you like slow, introspective slice-of-life stories with a queer angle, this one is for you! I really found the storytelling style to be right up my alley. It was quirky enough to be interesting, but not so much as to be confusing. The seemingly unrelated anecdotes and asides actually serve to ground the character in a very interesting way. The ending was expected but not in a bad way, in a comforting way. The art has its own kind of charm that totally won me over by the end and the composition of the story more than makes up for the simplicity of the drawings. I loved this and will look forward to owning a finished copy.

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Pardalita is a beautiful graphic novel. The novel is based in Portugal and follows Raquel who, in short, is trying to find herself while grappling with her feelings towards a classmate, and eventual new friend, Pardalita. It is a classic coming-of-age queer love story, yet with it's beautifully simplistic images and integration of lyricism and poetry, stands out amongst the crowd. I think the way Estrela integrates Raquel's lessons in English grammar to illustrate and accentuate the relationships and nuances in the English language, and apply and project those nuances onto the thoughts and emotions of the main protagonist, is brilliant. I cannot wait to buy this item for my collection.

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Soft and warm and beautiful.

Thank you NetGalley and Levine Querido for the opportunity to read an ARC.

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This is a sweet story with snippets of the mc life in high school and growing up. The illustrations are so beautiful, it felt like I was watching a movie. The book has some nice drawings of place and cities too. Beautiful graphic novel that swept me away even in such a short format.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Pardalita by Joana Estrela, translated by Lyn Miller Lachman, was such a delightfully atmospheric read. This graphic novel follows Raquel, a sixteen year-old girl living in a small town in Portugal that falls completely entranced with a girl: Pardalita. Raquel must now deal with her parents divorce, her friends endeavors and her possibly there feelings for this girl—whatever they might mean. There's not that much that happens in this graphic novel but it all seems to carry on the feeling of being a lost teenager. The illustrations are quite simplistic but oh-so-beautiful and the writing manages to convey so much poetically in very little words.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book, I promise you won't be disappointed.

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