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Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the very first time and the unease—as well as excitement—that comes along with that challenge.


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Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the very first time and the unease—as well as excitement—that comes along with that challenge.

30 review for Little Fish: A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    For the life of me, I can't figure out how Little Fish got published. Not that Ramsey Beyer's graphic novel/list compendium of her college experience is particularly offensive. On the contrary, it's completely unoffensive, blandly chronicling none-too-original freshmen events that surely readers have seen covered elsewhere - on the first two seasons of Felicity, for instance. I have to assume, then, that the "hook" is in the format, a zine/blog mix that strikes me as trying too hard to achieve f For the life of me, I can't figure out how Little Fish got published. Not that Ramsey Beyer's graphic novel/list compendium of her college experience is particularly offensive. On the contrary, it's completely unoffensive, blandly chronicling none-too-original freshmen events that surely readers have seen covered elsewhere - on the first two seasons of Felicity, for instance. I have to assume, then, that the "hook" is in the format, a zine/blog mix that strikes me as trying too hard to achieve far too little. If I'm supposed to appreciate this conceptually, shouldn't the design demonstrate the narrator's growth and development as an artist as she's exposed to new styles and ideas at school, gradually developing as she herself develops away from her initial timidity into something more striking and original? No? Well, guess that form's not following function, then; which makes me see it as more of a gimmick than anything else. There's nothing wrong with Little Fish. There's just nothing particularly right about it, either. Given how visceral some graphic memoirs can be, I can't help viewing that as a disappointment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I loved this book so much. For me, it really captured the feeling of transitioning from high school to college, and I appreciated how open she was in including *real* pieces of her journal/lists/etc. I hope there is a sequel. I've seen other reviewers on here say that "nothing really happens"... but I don't think the book was supposed to be about some huge event. To me, the purpose was to capture a certain period in her life, and I feel like she did this beautifully. I loved this book so much. For me, it really captured the feeling of transitioning from high school to college, and I appreciated how open she was in including *real* pieces of her journal/lists/etc. I hope there is a sequel. I've seen other reviewers on here say that "nothing really happens"... but I don't think the book was supposed to be about some huge event. To me, the purpose was to capture a certain period in her life, and I feel like she did this beautifully.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    The only reason this isn't getting one star is because the artwork is decent. The format(s) seemed a bit redundant. The content... well, it's always hard when you're reading a memoir. I try to evaluate the book separately from my feelings about the author. This proved difficult. Ramsey is probably a really nice girl. But reading this memoir was like reading my diary from when I was 12. So superficial. So juvenile. Such silly lists. God, the lists. I really disliked the author by the end. And I fee The only reason this isn't getting one star is because the artwork is decent. The format(s) seemed a bit redundant. The content... well, it's always hard when you're reading a memoir. I try to evaluate the book separately from my feelings about the author. This proved difficult. Ramsey is probably a really nice girl. But reading this memoir was like reading my diary from when I was 12. So superficial. So juvenile. Such silly lists. God, the lists. I really disliked the author by the end. And I feel bad about that because I'm sure she's nice. But she's just too... wholesome / perky / something and it got on my nerves.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    Different. Beyer has brought together her collection of lists and old Livejournal entries, bridging the gaps with comic book pages, to tell the story of her first year in college. Which is, to be honest, not terribly dramatic. But she does a good job of capturing the anxiety that a small town kid would feel when moving to a big city far from home. The many, many lists, some of which aren't terribly relevant to the story, could try anyone's patience, and there's quite a bit of repetition. But I d Different. Beyer has brought together her collection of lists and old Livejournal entries, bridging the gaps with comic book pages, to tell the story of her first year in college. Which is, to be honest, not terribly dramatic. But she does a good job of capturing the anxiety that a small town kid would feel when moving to a big city far from home. The many, many lists, some of which aren't terribly relevant to the story, could try anyone's patience, and there's quite a bit of repetition. But I did like the way that Beyer brought it all together, and I think this would really appeal to small town high school students about to head off to college.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joli

    Little Fish is told in a series of lists and comics. In the spirit of the book, I decided to share my thoughts in a list. a memoir told in lists which I liked because: I like lists, made for a quick read enjoyed the graphics - made reading a visual experience expresses the anticipation and expectation of going away to college - which anyone getting to go to college or anyone who has been to college can relate to shares the excitement and anxiety of making new friends in a new place small town gi Little Fish is told in a series of lists and comics. In the spirit of the book, I decided to share my thoughts in a list. a memoir told in lists which I liked because: I like lists, made for a quick read enjoyed the graphics - made reading a visual experience expresses the anticipation and expectation of going away to college - which anyone getting to go to college or anyone who has been to college can relate to shares the excitement and anxiety of making new friends in a new place small town girl with big city dreams wants to know more about the world outside of her comfort zone made me think what my college experience would have been like if I had gone to a college halfway across the country reminded me of my own experiences of getting out on my own and making new friends beyond my best friends from high school great for fans of creative storytelling readers may be inspired to chronicle their college experience in a similar way makes me want to read more graphic novels makes me want to know more about the author and her zines!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Raina

    Ramsey was a small-town girl when she decided to move to the city to go to art school. She was relatively sheltered and naive, her family culture was midwestern, liberal and educated, and she naturally gravitated to an arts career and the punk subculture. This is the story of her first year at art school in Baltimore. The book recounts the summer of 2003 through the summer of 2004, and includes short sequential-art anecdotes, lists of things ("things that scare me," "top 10 worst sounds," "things Ramsey was a small-town girl when she decided to move to the city to go to art school. She was relatively sheltered and naive, her family culture was midwestern, liberal and educated, and she naturally gravitated to an arts career and the punk subculture. This is the story of her first year at art school in Baltimore. The book recounts the summer of 2003 through the summer of 2004, and includes short sequential-art anecdotes, lists of things ("things that scare me," "top 10 worst sounds," "things I've done to prepare for college," etc.), and some helpful reference sections, such as annotated illustrations of her apartment, cast-of-character sections, and more. Some collections like this feel pretty scattered, but Beyer brings these disparate pieces together quite smoothly. So, even though the comic-portions have a quite simple illustration style (I'm tempted to call them "child-like"), and the lists are typewriter-written scraps of paper copied overlaying random objects (string, pens, etc.), and the blog excerpts are printed in a rather cheesy font on an illustrated notebook, it all hangs together and tells the story fluidly. Beyer is very honest. About how privileged she is. About coming out of her shell. She doesn't delve deep, per se, but I got the feeling that this was because she wasn't doing the hard mental work herself, rather than any kind of storytelling dishonesty. I didn't get a very specific sense of what her paintings (her initially claimed primary art medium) were like, which is interesting to me. There are many things we could say about the privilege of the piece. But I don't see that as invalidating the story or point of view. All in all, I found her engaging, real, and likable, for the most part. And I wanted to know what came next. sidenote: The cover features a fishbowl and a short haircut. I only remember the fishtank playing anything more than a set-dressing role once. And her hair is pointedly long when she first goes to the city. So that's weird to me. Read with: Between Gears Relish My Life in the Kitchen

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Beyer, R. (2013). Little fish: A memoir from a different kind of year. San Francisco, CA: Zest Books. 273 pp. (Unpaginated). ISBN: 978-1-936976-18-8. (Hardcover); $15.99. Paw Paw, Michigan does not find its way into teen literature. I say this with conviction. Many readers may suspect that Paw Paw is a made up name. I’ve been there! Eaten at a very fine restaurant there. Consequently, finding Little Fish and discovering that Ramsey hails from Paw Paw attracted my attention. What has me reviewing Beyer, R. (2013). Little fish: A memoir from a different kind of year. San Francisco, CA: Zest Books. 273 pp. (Unpaginated). ISBN: 978-1-936976-18-8. (Hardcover); $15.99. Paw Paw, Michigan does not find its way into teen literature. I say this with conviction. Many readers may suspect that Paw Paw is a made up name. I’ve been there! Eaten at a very fine restaurant there. Consequently, finding Little Fish and discovering that Ramsey hails from Paw Paw attracted my attention. What has me reviewing the book is its pitch perfect depiction of the small town fears of teens graduating from high school and heading off to college in a big city. My own daughter suffered from the paralyzing fears and insecurities of heading to New York from a small town very much like Paw Paw (and only 20 miles away). Did my small town prepare me well enough to be taken seriously in a big city? Can a young woman from Paw Paw, Michigan be expected to recognize good art? Paw Paw is very different from Baltimore in just about every manner possible. Beyer, however, does not treat Paw Paw disrespectfully. Ramsey waxes poetically about the people, animals, and things in Michigan that she loves and misses, while appreciating the expanded cultural opportunities that Baltimore offers. Along the way, Ramsey meets a loud, opinionated boy with very different musical tastes. Many arguments and many laughs later, they discover they are a couple in a relationship at about the exact same time they realize they are on a first date—so perfectly teen! Beyer’s art, graphics, font treatments (love the typewriter), and page design serve this memoir exceptionally well. The honesty of the voice, however, is what makes this book well worth adding to high school libraries.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Catie

    This is a nice exploration of a small-town girl's first year in a big, diverse arts college, and I think many students will relate to her mixed feelings of homesickness/longing for more adventure and freedom. However, the narrative is very bogged down by bland, repetitive lists and extremely vague details with little to no specific, vivid imagery or experience. It's like the author selectively included only the most boring/G-rated parts of her life. High school students will surely long for at l This is a nice exploration of a small-town girl's first year in a big, diverse arts college, and I think many students will relate to her mixed feelings of homesickness/longing for more adventure and freedom. However, the narrative is very bogged down by bland, repetitive lists and extremely vague details with little to no specific, vivid imagery or experience. It's like the author selectively included only the most boring/G-rated parts of her life. High school students will surely long for at least a tiny bit of drama.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    So cute and good! Made me a bit nostalgic for when I was also 18 and leaving home for the first time. Super well done and would make a great gift for a teen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara Grochowski

    There were two things about Ramsey Beyer's memoir, Little Fish: A Memoir From a Different Kind of Year, that immediately convinced me I needed to read it: 1. Ramsey is from the small town of Paw, Paw, Michigan, which is very close to where I attended university.. I left my small northern, Michigan town to move to Kalamazoo, which is much bigger than where I grew up, and I, like Ramsey, felt like a little fish in a new, big pond. 2. Little Fish is a memoir told in various formats, including illu There were two things about Ramsey Beyer's memoir, Little Fish: A Memoir From a Different Kind of Year, that immediately convinced me I needed to read it: 1. Ramsey is from the small town of Paw, Paw, Michigan, which is very close to where I attended university.. I left my small northern, Michigan town to move to Kalamazoo, which is much bigger than where I grew up, and I, like Ramsey, felt like a little fish in a new, big pond. 2. Little Fish is a memoir told in various formats, including illustrations, lists, and blog entries. As a blogger who writes lists constantly and has a deep appreciation for contemporary graphic novels, I couldn't imagine Beyer creating something any better suited to my tastes! Little Fish follows Beyer as she leaves Michigan, and her comfortable life and close-knit circle of friends, to attend art school in Baltimore. In many ways, Beyer could represent any recent graduate who moves away to attend university after high school, but I felt a special connection with her, as a small-town girl and a fellow Michigander. Though Beyer moved much further away than I did for university (all the way to the East Coast!), I went through a very similar experience following my graduation, and I can vouch for the honesty of the feelings and experiences described in Little Fish. Beyer perfectly captures the excitement, confusion, and emotional ups and downs associated with a young adult's first big move from home. Multiple times throughout the novel, Beyer refers to how secure she felt in Paw Paw and how that was both a good and bad thing. There are times when she just wants to escape the small town life. She yearns for diversity and change, but, other times, she fiercely misses home. While she enjoys the new people she's met at school, she misses the people from small town Michigan... though she can't quite explain just what quality the people from home possess that her new acquaintances do not. Later, she can't imagine spending vacation away from Baltimore and her new friends, who have quickly become constant companions, but, by the end of break, she isn't so sure she's ready to return to university life. She admits that, if she could come up with a good enough reason, she might never have small town life behind. These parts of the novel really resonated with me, as I went through the exact same things when I was at university. At school, I was constantly saying that I couldn't wait to go "home," but when I was back in my hometown, I was couldn't wait to go "home" to university. Beyer tactfully addresses this confusing issue of having two homes and divided feelings about both, which often goes unmentioned and ignored when kids are considering the changes they'll experience when leaving for school, but later ends up being an emotional and confusing issue. I immediately fell in love with Beyer's easily accessible graphic style and her penchant for list writing. There's something very fresh and perhaps even novel about Beyer's memoir that feels very fitting, given the topics and themes found within. Considering that this memoir addresses so many different firsts - freshman year of university, moving away from home, becoming independent, finding oneself, and experiencing one's first serious relationship - I can't help but feel that Little Fish would be a great first introduction to graphic novels for those who haven't read one before. It mixes in plenty of text, in the form of lists and blog-like entries, so the comic elements are somewhat spaced out. The illustrations aren't overly complicated and I never felt like I might be missing some hidden meaning within the images, which I've sometimes felt when reading graphic novels... and that I fear might be off putting to those who are hesitant about picking one up. To me, Little Fish would be a great stepping stone for readers who would like to branch out into graphic novels, but who have been a bit shy about it. I highly recommend Little Fish to readers of memoirs, graphic novels, and YA. Beyer's debut offers something to each of these genres individually, but also unites them in a unique and interesting way.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Book Whales

    Originally posted @ Book Whales The book is brilliant! I find it interesting. The illustrations, lists and collages gave the book some depth in Ramsey’s Little Fish experience. The book is filled with vibrant drawings. And all the visual aspect of the book is fun to look through. Reminiscing As I read Ramsey’s journal about dating and her own ‘reality’ moment— it transported me back to my college days. I fully remember my first day of school; it was awkward, hectic and confusing. I don’t know what Originally posted @ Book Whales The book is brilliant! I find it interesting. The illustrations, lists and collages gave the book some depth in Ramsey’s Little Fish experience. The book is filled with vibrant drawings. And all the visual aspect of the book is fun to look through. Reminiscing As I read Ramsey’s journal about dating and her own ‘reality’ moment— it transported me back to my college days. I fully remember my first day of school; it was awkward, hectic and confusing. I don’t know what to do. And I know no one from my class. I was also conscious of my actions and physical aspect. I wanted to go back in High School –and never grow up. I also felt the pressure of finding true friends. In college, it is important to have a set of good friends to rely on. And learn to think ahead. Good decisions are important, it determines your future. Short thoughts It is heartwarming to able to see/look at someone’s own experience almost similar to mine. I wish that this book is present during my “a little fish in a big pond” moment. What made this book shine is how Ramsey shared her experience through drawings. I find it cute and attractive. I have a 12 year old brother who read the book and even tried to copy the illustrations. Overall, Little Fish is a fun read. It’s simple, interesting and imaginative. I recommend this book to 13 years old and above. It is also a great book to share/gift to teens that are experiencing “first year college mayhem." I give this, 4 Whales in a pond.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

    This surprisingly sweet autobiographical, graphic novel follows a young woman through her first year of collage at an art school in Baltimore, MD. The pleasant but not overly compelling cover doesn't do justice to the book, I think. I doubt I would have pulled this one off the shelf had a friend not given it do me. Within are lists, journal entries culled from the author's Livejournal account (remember Livejournal?!), and zine excerpts. The multimodal art intrigued me, as did Ramsey's thoughtful This surprisingly sweet autobiographical, graphic novel follows a young woman through her first year of collage at an art school in Baltimore, MD. The pleasant but not overly compelling cover doesn't do justice to the book, I think. I doubt I would have pulled this one off the shelf had a friend not given it do me. Within are lists, journal entries culled from the author's Livejournal account (remember Livejournal?!), and zine excerpts. The multimodal art intrigued me, as did Ramsey's thoughtful summarizations of her experience in list-form, descriptions of the important people in her life, and her sense of growth and gratitude. In particular, I was interested in how she experienced her relative privilege and wished she'd talked a little bit more about that. I don't know Baltimore very well, but I do know there's a strong African-American community there and was curious as to why no black people appeared in the book. Finally, there's a freshness to Ramsey's voice and style that makes this book a great gift for someone who might be just a little shy about new experiences who is headed off to a first year of sleep-away school or college.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emilia P

    I wanted to like this!It's a girl who makes list and draws comics! And she's from the semi-rural midwest! We have so much in common! Argh! But in her move to go to art school in Baltimore (so edgy!) and her wavering about the boy she likes, and all that good stuff, she somehow manages to never reveal any vulnerability, brokenness, or even really any mean or angry or relatably sad thoughts -- it felt like there was a wall between her and the reader. Which, argh, made it kind of a chore. Some revie I wanted to like this!It's a girl who makes list and draws comics! And she's from the semi-rural midwest! We have so much in common! Argh! But in her move to go to art school in Baltimore (so edgy!) and her wavering about the boy she likes, and all that good stuff, she somehow manages to never reveal any vulnerability, brokenness, or even really any mean or angry or relatably sad thoughts -- it felt like there was a wall between her and the reader. Which, argh, made it kind of a chore. Some review I think suggested it would be good for the budding artist about to head to college, but I would be pretty certain college would be a letdown if I read this book before I went. Oh well. Perhaps a challenge for the budding artist to do better? Feel more? Perhaps.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    I actually enjoyed this book. I usually do not read or enjoy graphic novels, but this one holds a lot of truth about freshman year at college - that is, if you go AWAY to college. I liked reading and reminiscing about that easy, fun, figuring-yourself-out time in life. I related to Ramsey and enjoyed seeing her change and grow. I thought it was fun that she made lists all the time, for everything!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    I'm imaging myself as an alien from Mars who never went to college, or a human anywhere on Earth who also never went to college, and I'm thinking about how un-fun this book would be from that perspective (it's about a girl going away to college). However, I happen to have gone away to college not all that long ago, so I could really relate to a lot of this book. I was resistant going in, but by the end I was reflecting *a lot* on being 18. I mean, I'm listening to Voxtrot (one of my favorite ban I'm imaging myself as an alien from Mars who never went to college, or a human anywhere on Earth who also never went to college, and I'm thinking about how un-fun this book would be from that perspective (it's about a girl going away to college). However, I happen to have gone away to college not all that long ago, so I could really relate to a lot of this book. I was resistant going in, but by the end I was reflecting *a lot* on being 18. I mean, I'm listening to Voxtrot (one of my favorite bands in college) for the first time in ages as I write this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt Wilson

    I read Little Fish by Ramsey Bayer. I did not like this book. The story is about the author Ramsey, and her transformation from being a high school student to dealing with college and becoming more independent. The story was probably not my cup of tea because it did not really peak my interest. I found the plot to be more basic and sort of cliche but again this probably wasn’t the best book for me to read. I believe that the book has a good message, saying that you should not be afraid to pursue I read Little Fish by Ramsey Bayer. I did not like this book. The story is about the author Ramsey, and her transformation from being a high school student to dealing with college and becoming more independent. The story was probably not my cup of tea because it did not really peak my interest. I found the plot to be more basic and sort of cliche but again this probably wasn’t the best book for me to read. I believe that the book has a good message, saying that you should not be afraid to pursue your dreams and take on the world. The art in the book wasn't bad, it was all black and white and I liked how it was kind of abstract at times as well. Again, I did not personally like this book, so I would not recommend it to an audience with similar interests to myself.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marco Morano

    I think this is a really cute and fun coming of age story of a girl throughout her first year of college, but the ending left me unsatisfied. I feel like there was so much untouched potential that could've been used and I just wanted a lot more from the story. Still had a lot of fun reading this though! I think this is a really cute and fun coming of age story of a girl throughout her first year of college, but the ending left me unsatisfied. I feel like there was so much untouched potential that could've been used and I just wanted a lot more from the story. Still had a lot of fun reading this though!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This is a really sweet book my sister got for me before I started at uni. I may be conflating the thoughtfulness of the book with the thoughtfulness of the gift but it holds a special place for me anyway

  19. 5 out of 5

    💫🪐Basil🪐💫

    It was pretty good. I loved the story line.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie Wille

    This book is one of a kind for me. I’ve never before read a book that had this combination of lists, drawings, collages, etc. . It was a lot of fun at the start, but once the newness had wore off I sometimes felt it lacked in the dialogue department. Perhaps I’m being picky, or I’m just not used to reading comics, but for me there just wasn’t enough in the dialogues. They just left me wanting more details, more pages, more depth. I find this to be a very hard book to review, because I’m just not This book is one of a kind for me. I’ve never before read a book that had this combination of lists, drawings, collages, etc. . It was a lot of fun at the start, but once the newness had wore off I sometimes felt it lacked in the dialogue department. Perhaps I’m being picky, or I’m just not used to reading comics, but for me there just wasn’t enough in the dialogues. They just left me wanting more details, more pages, more depth. I find this to be a very hard book to review, because I’m just not used to reviewing a book which is not a novel. It’s a bit weird because (perhaps unjustly so) I feel as if I can’t follow the same basic reviewing plan for this one. But on I go with this review. As a fervent list-maker myself I could really appreciate the ones in the book. At first. But it did get a bit old at times. I guess it’s just not as fun to read them as it is to write them? And there were also times when the lists were about things that I would never make a list about. But I will admit that these lists made the book more personal, especially seeing as these were written by Ramsey herself at the time she is portraying in her story. But a smaller amounts of lists would definitely have been fine with me. Especially seeing as they could also slow down the story as well. The drawings in this book were amazing, every character was always very easily distinguishable which is a definite plus. However the dialogue in them was often a bit too brief to my liking. Especially because we got to know (through the life journals) how good of a writer Ramsey can be. She sometimes had these sentences that really touched home for me. But that wasn’t there in the dialogues. And I understand that people don’t speak like that in real life, no one is that pensive at 18 (or at least I wasn’t). But I don’t have the feeling that most conversations were that basic in real life. Going of to college is a big step in anyone’s life, and even more so if it’s to a college far away from home. The story that was being told was a very interesting and personal one. It definitely showed us the journey which Ramsey had during this first year away from home. But I guess that sometimes it’s hard to write a memoir about a year like this. Sometimes there are things that were so very important to you, but they can be so very hard to convey as well. And that’s something that I felt while reading this book. And I’m not saying this to be rude in any way, but not everyone has that kind of life in which many things happen (action wise). I think this format would have done better if it were about a year which had been a bit more action packed and less focused on the emotional stuff. The lists were a great way for the reader to meet the writer, but as for telling the story it felt a bit lacking as well. It gave us insight, but only into a very limited topic. But it was nice to read about this year which changed a lot in Ramsey’s life. I feel like I’ve been blundering my way through this review! If I didn’t feel like I was nearly insulting the author’s life it definitely felt as if the words struggling to come out of my head. So for the record, I did like the story and I did like the format, I just think the combo might have been a bit off. This format didn’t go well with such an emotional journey in my opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dani Shuping

    ARC provided by NetGalley Ramsey Beyer is 18 years old and about to leave her small town life to become an independent big city college freshman. And she wants to share her story. In Little Fish, Ramsey share's with her us her first hand thoughts of tackling the new challenges that face her in the big city and growing up away from the friends and family she's known all of her life. Told through Ramsey's journals, collages, lists, and drawings she shares with he her transformation in the time befo ARC provided by NetGalley Ramsey Beyer is 18 years old and about to leave her small town life to become an independent big city college freshman. And she wants to share her story. In Little Fish, Ramsey share's with her us her first hand thoughts of tackling the new challenges that face her in the big city and growing up away from the friends and family she's known all of her life. Told through Ramsey's journals, collages, lists, and drawings she shares with he her transformation in the time before her move up to the end of her first year of college, in this great autobiographical tale. Even though some of the drawings were done within the last couple of years, everything was based upon what she wrote in her journal. Ramsey even shares some of the actual pages from her journal, the lists that she created of things that she wanted to do or would miss while moving away from everyone that she knows. This is a great first hand account of what it's like to leave everything that you know and get out into the real world. It's awkward at times, especially as Ramsey navigates dating for the first time, but why wouldn't it be? She captures everything that we as readers have felt at some point or another in our lifetime. This is such a great way to put together and share a story. Drawings that have an innocence about them, pages from real life journal, type written lists, crumpled pages creating backgrounds...it has it all. There's a lot of visual interests to keep the reader going back for more to see what they missed the first time around, but never feeling overwhelmed by what's there. The one thing that I'm not sure about, and that maybe because it's an egalley, is that there isn't any color anywhere in the book and that's a bit disappointing because just a touch of color in a few places would add some nice contrast. Barring that though, I love looking through this book. This is a perfect book to give to those heading off to college the first time and for those of us that haven't been in college for a while. It's a nice reminder of what it was like to leave home for that first time. I highly recommend this book and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I feel like there have been a LOT of coming of age teen memoir comics lately, or maybe I've just read a lot of them. This one is...OK. The art is not mind-blowing, but the characters are rendered well and I can imagine what they look like (or at least how they dress). It reads as mostly a collection of the author's LiveJournal and zines, which is what in fact it is. Charming but very limited and very, very young. Reminds me a lot of my freshman year of college, actually. The main character start I feel like there have been a LOT of coming of age teen memoir comics lately, or maybe I've just read a lot of them. This one is...OK. The art is not mind-blowing, but the characters are rendered well and I can imagine what they look like (or at least how they dress). It reads as mostly a collection of the author's LiveJournal and zines, which is what in fact it is. Charming but very limited and very, very young. Reminds me a lot of my freshman year of college, actually. The main character starts out very sheltered, and honestly, although she encounters some of the basic confusions of a college freshman, she has a VERRRRRY easy time of it. I found this frankly kind of boring and not true of most people's experiences. There's no friend drama, no roommate fights, no poor decisions, a perfectly beautiful housing situation, and a romance that's very sweet and realistically portrayed but SOOOO well-adjusted and basically platonic that it's really boring to read at times. I get that the author is not into substances or drama, so it's fine that those things are not included. But given that, I would've liked to read more about her classwork and all the art going on around her at school. We only see one in-class critique, one performance art piece, lots of general references to homework, and that's about it. What? More art in the story please, you are at art school! Some depictions of going to shows, walking around, hanging out etc, but not even that many of these...:( I wanted more of that. I think maybe I'm not the audience for this book. A teenager who's excited about going away to college might find this a lot more interesting to read. The good news is that due to the author's squeaky-clean-ness (as least as she's depicted in the book), I have no qualms recommending this to anyone 12 and up, really. There are a few swear words and a few passing references to sex/drugs and alcohol as things that other people do...but that's it. So that's good I suppose. Not bad at all, but fairly forgettable. I would read something else by this author in the future for sure.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Harvey

    This summer was the perfect time to read Little Fish, a book that reminded me of my own college experiences. My little sister is now embarking on her own adventure in college, and I'm excited that we will only be 30 minutes away instead of 90 minutes. Change is the name of this school year for me as well, as my school implements new standards, we adopt new technology and I try out many new things. Enough about me for now, back to the book. I love that Ramsey is a list maker, as this is one of my This summer was the perfect time to read Little Fish, a book that reminded me of my own college experiences. My little sister is now embarking on her own adventure in college, and I'm excited that we will only be 30 minutes away instead of 90 minutes. Change is the name of this school year for me as well, as my school implements new standards, we adopt new technology and I try out many new things. Enough about me for now, back to the book. I love that Ramsey is a list maker, as this is one of my own compulsions. I loved reading through her different lists. The story itself ran through in graphic novel format with these collages and lists scattered within. Ramsey is entering her first year of college and knows it will be quite different from the life she is used to living. Going from a small town to a city is quite a change, one I made myself and ended up leaving after a semester to come back home. This book really has something for everyone, the friendships, the love interest and I felt we were somewhat of kindred spirits. I thought about exploring art myself in college and never ended up pursuing it as I had so few years actually being an artist. Ramsey's illustrations are wonderful and really capture the personalities of herself and her friends and family. As a fan of graphic novels, I think that this was a longer read than most, maybe due to the journal entries and longer, in depth lists throughout the book. I think that readers resistant to graphic novels will appreciate this one and relate to the characters easily. I think this format is the best for memoirs as it really puts you into the character's shoes and see more of the world and experiences. Final Verdict: Definitely a book that will be added to my personal collection and revisited in times of reflection on the past. Ramsey's story is one that I can relate to and makes me realize more about my own past and future. Find out more about Ramsey and her book:

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jillyn

    I wasn't sure what to expect going into Little Fish. It's a coming of age type memoir told in a graphic novel format. It's not something that I regret reading, but it's also not something that I'd read again either. I appreciate the unique structure of this graphic novel. Ramsey uses a collection of old lists and blog posts in her comics to show some growth of where she's come from in life. I liked the lists aspect, because I'm a big list maker myself. Overall though, this story was just kind of v I wasn't sure what to expect going into Little Fish. It's a coming of age type memoir told in a graphic novel format. It's not something that I regret reading, but it's also not something that I'd read again either. I appreciate the unique structure of this graphic novel. Ramsey uses a collection of old lists and blog posts in her comics to show some growth of where she's come from in life. I liked the lists aspect, because I'm a big list maker myself. Overall though, this story was just kind of vanilla. It doesn't stand out to me as particularly interesting or eventful. I was expecting some intense drama maybe, or some huge change of life decisions but, it's a pretty tame recollection. Honestly, it seemed like I was reliving my own blog posts or my personal college experience. For some people, that's probably a good thing. It brings up fond memories, or is seen as relatable. For me, my college story is just me eating Arby's and hoping for snow days for four years. Not ultimately exciting, and I certainly don't think anyone else would care about my life at that point. That's not to say that this book is bad, because it isn't. It tells a cohesive story, and the artwork is cute. But it's a pretty vaguely written story- there's not a lot of details or specifics about her classes, or her life, that made me connect with her. Maybe teenagers or those ready to go to college would appreciate this book more than I did. It's not a bad book, but it's not something I'll keep to reread later. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This review can also be found on my blog, Bitches n Prose.

  25. 5 out of 5

    emma

    I have never opened a graphic novel and I have never felt any inclination to do so. I shelved this book at work and for some reason went back and opened it. It was what I saw that made me smile, that made me check out the book and read it in two sittings, in one night. When I opened the book, the format reminded me of a zine, which is a latest obsession of mine. Scrapbook pages and typewriter written words and sweet cartoons and jottings. I loved it. The whole book is amazing. The thing you have I have never opened a graphic novel and I have never felt any inclination to do so. I shelved this book at work and for some reason went back and opened it. It was what I saw that made me smile, that made me check out the book and read it in two sittings, in one night. When I opened the book, the format reminded me of a zine, which is a latest obsession of mine. Scrapbook pages and typewriter written words and sweet cartoons and jottings. I loved it. The whole book is amazing. The thing you have to remember though, is that it's not like a novel. The storytelling isn't the way it usually is. This is a memoir in a unique format. It's snippets of a life. Yes, it really could have been more in depth, but the way it is is just the way it is. It's nor normal so don't say it needs to be. Because it doesn't. It inspired me so much too! It inspired me to make more lists and to use my typewriter more, just to type up little things I already have written. It inspired me to find more concerts, to make more zines (and to find Ramsey Beyer's zines... I want one rather badly). and more... Inspiring books are the best I think. The story itself is very light and loose. It's not really a plot, it's a life, as in the Vinyl Princess, another of my favorite books. I lovelovelove the main character, Ramsey. She's sweet and so cute. Actually, I loved all the characters. I liked the book because it was soft and light, with things you could identify with. It made me happy. Also, as a senior, it was fun to read a college freshman's thoughts... I really did adore this book and I'm asking for it for Christmas so... teehee ;)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    This graphic novel takes real journals, collages, lists and drawings to show the author’s transitional first year of college. Ramsey grew up in very small Paw Paw, Michigan. She was an artist from a young age and worked very hard at it, earning a spot in one of the top art schools in the country. This meant moving to Baltimore and making new friends for the first time since she was a young child. It also meant that she would no longer be the best artist around, she would be challenged as an arti This graphic novel takes real journals, collages, lists and drawings to show the author’s transitional first year of college. Ramsey grew up in very small Paw Paw, Michigan. She was an artist from a young age and worked very hard at it, earning a spot in one of the top art schools in the country. This meant moving to Baltimore and making new friends for the first time since she was a young child. It also meant that she would no longer be the best artist around, she would be challenged as an artist in her classes, and she would have to find her own way in this new setting. Beyer’s novel shows the difficulties and triumphs of a freshman year of college, and is sure to encourage other little fish to try their luck in the big city. Beyer’s use of her own personal real-life work that comes directly from that time in her life makes this entire novel work. It carries a weight that it would not have without that honest voice of youth at its core. The mixed media format also makes the entire book compulsively readable. Since you never know what is on the next page or what format it might be in, there is a constant desire to find out more and read longer. Beyer’s art is done entirely in black and white in the book. She plays with light and dark throughout, capturing both the loneliness of the first days at college and also the dynamic friendships and love interests that come later. Her work is humorous and yet poignant. This is a very strong, dynamic look at the first year of college. Teens will enjoy looking into their own future plans with a little laughter and lots of optimism. Appropriate for ages 13-16.

  27. 4 out of 5

    AmyKatherine1974

    I was excited to read this book when I first saw it. It sounded like a coming of age story, about that somewhat scary but exciting time when a child leaves the comfort of a small town life for big city college life. I thought that the fact that it was in graphic novel format might make it more exciting or relate-able but I was wrong. I found the graphic novel format to be fine- except for all the lists. I found that most of the lists did NOTHING to move the story along and towards the last third I was excited to read this book when I first saw it. It sounded like a coming of age story, about that somewhat scary but exciting time when a child leaves the comfort of a small town life for big city college life. I thought that the fact that it was in graphic novel format might make it more exciting or relate-able but I was wrong. I found the graphic novel format to be fine- except for all the lists. I found that most of the lists did NOTHING to move the story along and towards the last third of the book or so became downright tedious to get through (hello skim reading). Some of the lists weren't even relevant to what was happening in the story- which I found aggravating to say the least. While I am sure some college freshman are apprehensive- the fact that there was this build up of apprehension only to then level out into a plain account of the first year of college that was pretty much drama free was kind of anti-climatic in my eyes. I didn't find the story to be honestly all that compelling and I think that on it's own- without the graphic novel interface, this story would have been kind of boring. That said the "comic strip" like quality to the graphic novel is well done- probably one of the more redeeming features of the book. Reading level wise- as this book is marketed for the YA crowd: I would say that this book might interest mostly girls in the 6th-9th grade age range- but not much more than that because of the lack of story quality and the graphic novel interface.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I love memoirs, particularly memoirs of every day people, especially if it covers something fun like the college experience or another big life transition. Unfortunately, this was not good. Beyer essentially published scrap paper laying around with lists on it she made during her first year of art school. Rather than making these lists into some kind of meaningful narrative, they're just copy-pasted as is into this "graphic novel" (which has some comic illustrations, but probably less than 50% of I love memoirs, particularly memoirs of every day people, especially if it covers something fun like the college experience or another big life transition. Unfortunately, this was not good. Beyer essentially published scrap paper laying around with lists on it she made during her first year of art school. Rather than making these lists into some kind of meaningful narrative, they're just copy-pasted as is into this "graphic novel" (which has some comic illustrations, but probably less than 50% of the book, because the rest is all about lists). And don't get me wrong - I'm a list maker too, and I adore lists. I just had no reason to care about the lists Beyer was making. They were the self-indulgent ramblings of a young adult, the same I'd find everywhere on livejournal or xanga with a quick google search. I almost quit reading this several times, but I wanted to find something redemptive about it. It's a coming of age tale! Art school seems like something fascinating, especially for those of us not talented enough to attend! Young adult fledgling awkward romance is always fun! Except this time it wasn't fun, and I didn't see much character development, and there wasn't a whole lot about art school except to occasionally remind us that oh, yeah, that's where this non-story takes place. TL;DR This photocopied list compilation was far too long considering it lacked substance overall.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    This memoir in graphic format had just the right everything to make it a delicious reward. Transitioning from high school to her first year in college, Ramsey is not only moving from rural to city, but changing gears and thoughts about the world with all of the new things she's experiencing: people, music, criticism, life decisions. My only disappointment is that it ends with Ramsey and Daniel's romance, sending the message that all is complete because now she's a pair. And while it may not be h This memoir in graphic format had just the right everything to make it a delicious reward. Transitioning from high school to her first year in college, Ramsey is not only moving from rural to city, but changing gears and thoughts about the world with all of the new things she's experiencing: people, music, criticism, life decisions. My only disappointment is that it ends with Ramsey and Daniel's romance, sending the message that all is complete because now she's a pair. And while it may not be her intention, it does send a message. Though it doesn't damper the artistic qualities that make the book visually appealing, even in black and white. Or maybe it's because I'm a list-maker too and I get it. I do love the message about having the courage to spread your wings and fly, which builds confidence about trusting in new experiences. Second book?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Hudson

    Accustomed to life in a small town in Wisconsin where everyone knows each other, Ramsey is excited that she has the opportunity to venture out on her own after she graduates from high school. Shy and pig-tailed, she nonetheless enters college life at an art school in Baltimore with high hopes and dreams of adventure. Little Fish is her memoir of her first year away from home. The title reflects Ramsey’s feelings that she has become a little fish in a big pond, and at first she is definitely out o Accustomed to life in a small town in Wisconsin where everyone knows each other, Ramsey is excited that she has the opportunity to venture out on her own after she graduates from high school. Shy and pig-tailed, she nonetheless enters college life at an art school in Baltimore with high hopes and dreams of adventure. Little Fish is her memoir of her first year away from home. The title reflects Ramsey’s feelings that she has become a little fish in a big pond, and at first she is definitely out of her element. But as she makes friends and becomes immersed in challenging schoolwork, she gradually builds up confidence and starts to branch out. Told through illustrations and copies of journal entries and blog posts Beyer wrote at the time, Little Fish: A Memoir is an honest look at the difficulties young adults face when leaving what they know and beginning to forge a life away from home. It’s a great insight for both high school students on the cusp of a similar experience and the parents who will send them off. Beyer captures the balance of both excitement and fear that comes with stepping from a safe, known world into one that is unknown and full of possibilities as well as drawbacks. I recommend Little Fish for mother-daughter book clubs and other readers aged 14 and up. The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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