Cross My Heart and Never Lie

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Pub Date 19 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 19 Sep 2023

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★ WINNER of the 2024 Stonewall Book Award, American Library Association

Perfect for fans of The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag, HeartStopper by Alice Oseman, and Jen Wang's The Dressmaker and the Prince.

In this fresh, sensitive, diary-style graphic novel, 12-year-old Tuva's questions about becoming a teenager are confusing—so when her first crush turns out to be on another girl, it feels absolutely wonderful--so why does it become so complicated?

Tuva is starting seventh grade, and her checklist of goals includes: writing out a diary, getting a trendy look, building the best fort in the woods with her BFFs, and much more. But when she starts school, nothing is how she hoped it would be.

Seventh grade has split her friends into rival factions: TEAM LINNEA and the girls who fall in love and TEAM BAO and the girls who NEVER fall in love. Linnea has a BOYFRIEND, Bao hates everything related to love. Worst of all, Linnea and Bao expect Tuva to choose a side!

In this delighfully hand-lettered coming-of-age graphic diary, Tuva gets caught between feeling like a kid and wanting to know HOW to become a teenager. Then Miriam shows up and suddenly Tuva feels as if she’s met her soulmate. Can you fall in love with a girl, keep it from your friends, and survive? For Tuva, it may be possible, but it's defintely not easy.
★ WINNER of the 2024 Stonewall Book Award, American Library Association

Perfect for fans of The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag, HeartStopper by Alice Oseman, and Jen Wang's The Dressmaker...

Advance Praise

"Reading this was like a warm hug."— Alice Oseman, NYT bestselling author of Heartstopper

★“Evocative of greats like Judy Blume and Sharon Creech….raw, sweet, relatable, and realistic, this modern classic has a timelessness that will leave a lasting impact.” — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

One of the 150 Most Anticipated Books for Fall— Kirkus Reviews

“A Best New Graphic Novel. Compelling.” — We Are Teachers

Featured on Kirkus' 10 Essential Middle Grade Books list

"Oh, Tuva. I want to climb into this book and hug you….Tuva has what it takes to get through this weird time of life….A really lovely look at all the changes that can come with being 12." — Teen Librarian Toolbox, School Library Journal

“Charming … captures the challenges of navigating strains on friendship bonds…An absorbing, sincerely told story of adolescent self-discovery and connection.” — Kirkus Reviews

"In this warmly rendered debut graphic novel, structured as Tuva’s illustrated personal diary, Dåsnes punctuates Tuva’s anxieties surrounding her fear of losing friends via styles that shift between sparsely detailed monochrome panels and moody full-color spreads that capture Tuva’s indomitable spirit." — Publishers Weekly

“Timeless and international….the "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" of the 21st Century….a relatable and touching story with incredibly charming and captivating art. “ — Viewpoint Books

“I’ve read a lot of MG books that focus on friendship and what it’s like as friends go from childhood to being teenagers, and this one stands out! I love how silly this book was in the way that 11 and 12 year olds are! The doodles and way of thinking felt so true to life. I’d highly recommend this for any kid going through the elementary to middle transition.” – Meg Smith, North Carolina Public Schools 

“Hilarious and well drawn.” – Rogene Carter, American Lee Academy International 

“Lovely…the unique format added more emotional depth than one can find in most graphic novels….Dåsnes illustrations have a quirky style that's easy to fall into.” – Lucy Kirby, Barrington Public Library

"Reading this was like a warm hug."— Alice Oseman, NYT bestselling author of Heartstopper

★“Evocative of greats like Judy Blume and Sharon Creech….raw, sweet, relatable, and realistic, this modern...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781662640575
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 122 members

Featured Reviews

I absolutely loved this graphic novel! The art style and way the story is told is so cute and heartwarming, but it also deals with the tough issues that so many kids deal with when they’re growing up and in that weird stage between being a kid and being a teenager. It really brought me straight back to that part of my life, but in a way that let me know that I was not alone in having those feelings like I once thought I was. Highly recommend for both young readers and adults who could use some healing of their inner child!

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I love reading coming-of-age stories that deal with heavy topics. This felt almost too close to home while I was reading it. The main character is at a pivotal point where love and identity are questioned. They are not sure whether it will make or break their life. If you have ever been in this situation, this book will remind you that it's essential to follow your heart. I am excited to see how audiences will receive this book and hope to recommend it to the teens in my life. Please check it out when it publishes in September and thank you to NetGalley and Astra Publishing House for the early e-book copy!

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If you like Heartstopper and coming of age stories, this is for you!

This story is about 12 year old Tuva and her struggles as a young girl. We read about her life in the format of her self drawn journal. It deals with topics like growing up, being gay and when it‘s the right time to stop playing in the woods and be more mature. I wish I could‘ve read a book like this when I was young.

I really enjoyed reading Tuvas story and could see myself and my childhood in her. Her relationship with her single father was heartwarming and the whole story felt very real especially when it comes to her relationship with her two best friends.
The art style is lovely too.

I can only highly recommend this book to young people and adults alike!

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This graphic novel was hilarious and well-drawn, definitely worth the money and the hype, and I hope will be successful!

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This is a really lovely coming-of-age story wherein Tuva negotiates the transition between childhood and becoming a teenager. Her friend group is split down the middle based on their allegiance to 'cool girly things' or having fun as they always did. To top it all off, Tuva achieves her goal of falling in love but surprises herself by it being a girl.

The illustrations here are phenomenal and full of little details that really bring the character of Tuva to life. Sure to be a hit in the senior primary classroom.

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This was such an adorable middle grade graphic novel about a 12 year old girl growing up, experiencing changing friendships, and having feelings for a girl for the first time. The artwork was so gorgeous. I loved the colors and the way the book used both more traditional comic panels as well as illustrated diary entries. The book is translated from Norwegian, so it was interesting to see which parts of daily life were unique to the setting in Norway and which parts are more universal experiences.

I definitely recommend this for people who love queer middle grade stories. While the main character Tuva does encounter some difficult situations, the book as a whole never gets too heavy. And it ends on a positive note!

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This story was so sweet, and I can fully understand the Heartstopper comparison. But what stole the show for me in this graphic novel was the loving relationship Tuva shared with her dad. I will never tire seeing supportive parents in literature and Tuva's dad was one of the best.

This story felt real, it showcased that scary transitional period in nearly becoming a teen but not quite and orchestrated it wonderfully. People can say what they like but being 12, finding my place in the world and struggling with understanding what being queer meant was always one of the most difficult time periods for me. And for others to have a graphic novel like this, to give them hope, show them their story may be unique to them but the path has happened before... it could change lives.

The art was also very cute! And as it was told in a diary narrative, fit perfectly to Tuva's character. A really enjoyable read!

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Cross My Heart and Never Lie is a graphic novel that follows 12 year old Tuva as she has navigates the transition from being a kid to being a teen.

I really enjoyed this! I am so overjoyed to see queer rep in books geared towards younger kids, I wonder how different my life in school could’ve been if I’d had a book like this where it was so casual.

This novel is told through diary form which I don’t think I’ve seen before and I really loved it! The color scheme also changes along with Tuva’s mood which I think is super neat.

Thank you NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Read this in one sitting, absolutely love the artstyle. This book is an extremely relatable coming of age story and i loved every second of it. Very charming.

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I loved this graphic novel! The format was unique and refreshing. I loved the extra character that was added to the story by seeing it through the lens of Tuva’s diary. The little ‘typo’s’ and scribbles added a charm to the story that I adore.

I appreciate that this story tackles common issues that humans face as they transition from childhood years to teenage years. I think it is important for adolescents to see stories like this (especially stories with queer representation!)

I loved the art and I loved the story. I highly recommend this book!

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Thank you Netgalley and Hippo Park for the ARC!

- I’ve read a lot of MG books that focus on friendship and what it’s like as friends go from childhood to being teenagers, and this one stands out!
- I love how silly this book was in the way that 11 and 12 year olds are! The doodles and way of thinking felt so true to life.
- While the characters are in 7th grade, they’re very comparable to kids who are in 5th grade (The book is set in Norway, and 7th grade is the last grade in primary school). I’d highly recommend this for any kid going through the elementary to middle transition.
- I loved the way this book showed how lgbt identity can be so complicated, even when a lot of people around you are allies.
- the style of the diary entries with the comic strips within worked so well!! I also loved the illustrations!

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Cross My Heart and Never Lie is a lovely graphic novel written in the form of diary entries. This unique format added more emotional depth than one can find in most graphic novels. The story takes place in Norway, with Tuva writing about her struggles starting 7th grade. Tuva is in that tricky in-between age of not quite a teenager, not quite a kid, and is also experiencing her first crush (on a girl, no less.) I enjoyed learning aspects of the Norwegian education system and gay rights progress, and Dåsnes illustrations have a quirky style that's easy to fall into. I only wish the ending had more time to breathe.
Thanks to Astra Publishing House and NetGalley for the ARC.

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Darling middle grade graphic novel about the awkward stages of being a kid and maturing at different rates as your friends.

Tuva is in grade 7, she is 12 and she loves playing in the big with her two best friends when one of them gets a boyfriend and the dynamics start to shift.

This was so lovely and so relatable.
This age is hard and this story encapsulates so much of the insecurity and struggles of this growing period.

I also loved the art.

Thanks to NetGalley and Astra Publishing for an eARC.

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I absolutely LOVED this graphic novel and I know my patrons will love it too. I think that graphic novels are amazing books for young readers because they touch on hard to talk about topics and make them more relatable to them. I can see this being very popular at my library!

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A refreshing and sweet story perfect for fans of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman following a girl who is just starting seventh grade and who might be falling for the new girl. From friendship drama, navigating puberty, and discovering crushes and more, this was a really cute coming of age story. Tuva is starting seventh grade and she can't be more excited to do so with her two best friends. Her goals are to : complete a diary, get a trendy look, build a fort with her best friends, go to a sleep over and maybe fall in love! But things are not as she thought when she comes back because friendship drama, rivalries, and the possibility of first love are all in the books for Tuva. This was a really charming read and I found it to be cute and fun. It's about puberty, discovering romance and makeup and just growing up.

*Thanks Netgalley and Astra Publishing House, Hippo Park for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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I think what bugs me about so many graphic novels aimed at the middle grade market is how they skew so heavily towards plot, often neglecting character development. CROSS MY HEART AND NEVER LIE is the antidote! It's got reams of character details and inner monologue galore, all centred on 12-year-old Tuva's dilemma when one of her best friends gets "mature" and starts dating, while the other is still set on playing forts in the Bog. Complicating matters is Tuva's developing feelings for her classmate Miriam. This is a book about fitting in and breaking moulds, about how friendships grow and change as we do too. The artwork is lovely, and different from the usual graphic novel fare. I think it will be a hit in my classroom this fall!
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance digital copy of the book. Publishes Sept 19/23!

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This book represents Tuva’s diary and life when she started 7th grade. Everything was not the same. Her friends changed, rules changed, everything that was once simple is now complicated.

Her two best friends stop seeing eye to eye because of love and Tuva doesn’t know where she should be. Should she choose one of them? What if she doesn’t want? What if she is just in the middle?

Growing up sucks.

This is a coming-of-age graphic novel where the main character, Tuva just came from her summer holidays to feel everything change before her eyes. She feels the same as in 6th grade, but the majority of the girls don’t, including one of her best friends, Linnea.

Love, relationships, the prospect of finally being mature enough to have a boyfriend, changes people. Your interests, your time, they expand to accommodate mutual activities with your partner.

But not everyone is into love, and that’s the case with Tuva’s other best friend Bao. She doesn’t understand wanting to change and wanting to be in love. She wants to be just like before, like in 6th grade. She wants to go play outside with sticks and rocks and have battles with classmates. Tuva also wants that, but she also wants what Linnea has.

This story also includes LGBT like the synopsis says. Tuva finds herself in love with the new girl. But she is confused by it. While she knows it can happen, she is afraid of telling/showing it to others.

It’s already awkward, the transition from kid to teenager, but joining that to the fact that she likes a girl makes it harder.

Another thing. Really enjoyed Tuva’s father! He is so supportive and cool! He really tries to help Tuva express her feelings/hopes/fears. It was beautiful to see their relationship.

Overall this is a really sweet story. It’s quite quick to read and I really liked how the colors of the graphic novel changed according to Tuva’s mood too – the drawings were also really cute and warm-hearted.

I would recommend this especially for young audiences who are themselves trying to figure out who they are. Or if you just need a push to follow your heart and a warm read. I gave it 3.5 stars.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Astra Publishing House for an advance review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Available September 19, 2023

Cross My Heart and Never Lie was such a nice read. It tells a story about growing up, discovering who you want to be, and how it can feel like everyone is at different stages. Told both between regular panels and through diary entries with cute little illustrations that feel real and unique as if you're actually getting a peak into Tuva's life. On top of a nicely written story the art style and colouring were a delight to the eyes and had me soaking in every page.

A relatable story I wish I could have read when I was younger.

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Review: 5 billion stars!

A delightfully charming story of Tuva, a 12yr old girl who just started 7th grade and is struggling to understand the drastic changes in herself, school, and friends. The focus of the book is on the pressures of society to make young girls grow up too fast, especially on topics surrounding dating, the body, social media, and maturity. But "maturing" proves to be difficult for Tuva as it means taking away all the things she loves surrounding imagination, fun, and being herself. Pressured to be "mature" Tuva seeks to find love and surprising herself gains a crush...on the new girl.

Tuva's story felt so real and reminded me so much of my own experience, being a kid is hard due to all the expectations of others and trying so hard to fit in. This novel was wildly creative, especially since the format of the book is meant to be like Tuva's diary. The drawings and narration are meant to be her own creation, giving us a glimpse into her emotions and perspective. The art was STUNNING, and the little details made me feel so many emotions at once. The novel made me laugh out loud and sob at the same time!

I loved that Tuva's family was her single father, a super cool metalhead dad who loves showing her old music. I highly appreciated that the novel wasn't focused on the trauma of being a queer kid but instead was sweet and the father was supportive. As someone who was a gay pre-teen, I screamed with joy as Tuva felt more comfortable with her crush being a girl. I will always appreciate any author that writes about queer kids in such a way that shows how natural, harmless, innocent, and beautiful non-heterosexual identities are. I highly recommend this novel for all ages, as it is a stunning depiction of growing up while still being true to yourself.

What more can I say, thank you. Thank you Nora Dåsnes for writing the story all of us awkward, weird, shy, queer kids needed. Wow, I wish I had this as a kid, but it is here now and it was pure perfection.

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Tuva had high hopes for seventh grade - in Norway, it is the last year of primary school before junior high. She thought she and her friends would finally be the top class and would rule the bog where they played at school. But suddenly, there is a divide - 'mature' kids who are obsessed with love, and the 'immature' ones who are still kids. Tuva is torn, and friends take different sides. Can Tuva be both? Not just for her friends, but for herself?

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This was such a delightful queer graphic novel! I loved the diary-style format and all the cute and hilarious drawings. It truly felt like a look into the life of a 12 year-old girl and I enjoyed the themes the story explored, such as being true to yourself and being honest with your friends.

It was also cool seeing some bits of Norwegian culture, since this story was translated from Norwegian and set in Norway. The story felt very grounded in its setting and characters, which I always appreciate.

Thank you to Astra Publishing House and NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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Cross My Heart and Never Lie is a book that I’d recommend to younger audiences that are interested in the Heartstopper series. This graphic novel is written in a similar diary/journal format and is perfect for tweens!

The main character, Tuva, struggles trying to maintain her friendship with her two BFFs. She feels caught in the middle, being less mature than one and more mature than the other. When she experiences her first crush, she feels even more confused about who she is and what friendship “team” she belongs to.

Tuva’s coming-of-age story is one that so many young readers will be able to relate to. I loved that the romantic element, while it did occupy many of Tuva’s thoughts, didn’t take over the entire story. I feel like the ending was perfect for this age group, although there could be space for a sequel(s).

Thank you to NetGalley and Astra Publishing House for an eARC of this book.

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This was voraciously consumed by my sixth grade daughter, who has a processing disorder that makes reading a challenge. Highly relevant to the middle school experience, and will surely be a hit.

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In love with the story, the point of view, the art style!!!

It captured perfectly how moving from being a child to being a ✨teenager✨ is about.

It's everything. The clumsy, the TYPOS, the friendship.

Big giant LOVE I finished it in one sitting 💖💖💖

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Such a realistic portrayal of the changes relationships go through during the tween years. The fact that Tuva gets a crush on another girl is amazing for other kids in the same situation but can 100% be related to by anyone who's ever had a young crush. Also great for kids navigating what to do when their friends start coupling off.

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" . . . acting like a teenager feels awkward. Almost like a game. I guess I have to keep trying until it feels normal."

Twelve-year-old Tuva is caught between two worlds, AND two friends. Her pal Bao wants things to stay the same with the three girls building a fort in the bog, and just hanging out together. Linnea, however, has moved on, and wants to indulge in more grownup activities like shopping and BOYS. Tuva just wants everyone to get along like they used to.

But, there's also a new girl at school who seems to have a lot in common with Tuva. Could she be a new friend, or perhaps . . . something more.

AUGH! Growing up is SO CONFUSING! And, this wonderful graphic for middle-grade readers captures all the turmoil. Highly recommended for anyone who feels alone in " all the madness" of becoming a teenager.

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