A bittersweet graphic novel about a nerdy teenaged boy who falls in love with the cool kid at school.
Adrian isn't very happy these days. He lives in a small town and goes to a Catholic high school. He wears glasses, secretly reads philosophy books, and wishes he had more muscles. He's dogged by a strict mother, bullied by fellow players on the soccer field, and chastised by the school principal, who considers rumors about Adrian being gay as a sign that he is "ill." But Jeremy, the coolest kid at school, thinks otherwise; he takes Adrian on scooter trips, where they end up in Jeremy's secret treehouse stealing kisses. Adrian finds himself falling in love, until Jeremy's girlfriend rats them out, sending Jeremy into a tailspin of embarrassment. What will become of Adrian?
Adrian and the Tree of Secrets is a poignant, beautifully illustrated graphic novel about first love, growing up, and having the courage to be true to yourself.
Hubert studied at the School of Fine Arts in Angers, where he first set his career sights on comics. He has written a number of graphic novels and comic series in French, including one that has been translated into English: Miss Don't Touch Me, Vols. 1 and 2, a graphic novel series set in Paris in the 1930s. He lives in Paris.
Marie Caillou studied Fine Arts in Strasbourg, France, and then in 1995 went to Brussels to study animation. She has directed short animated films, including a series entitled Peur(s) du Noir (Fear of the Dark). This is her first book to appear in English. She lives in Paris.
Visually beautiful, and using both dialogue and captivating images, Adrian and the Tree of Secrets lets Adrian's story unfold panel after panel ... This graphic novel is a sensitive reminder that there are still plenty of [gay teens like] Adrian's out there, and despite great leaps forward, isolation and harassment remain a reality for many LGBT youth around the world. -About.com LGBT Teens - About.com
Rendered in crisp lines filled in with shades of blue, green, brown, and salmon, Marie Caillou's graphics astutely emphasize Hubert's affecting narrative about life beyond black and white. -BookDragon - BookDragon
Author and artist expertly balance naivete and worldliness, from both Jeremy and Adrian, allowing readers to empathize with both. The ambiguous ending could serve as a conversation starter that gets teens talking about society's and religion's rules and how challenging it can be as individuals to carve one's own path. -Shelf Awareness - Shelf Awareness
Writer Hubert and illustrator Marie Caillou explore the emotional fraught world of gay adolescence in this beautifully rendered graphic novel. -Lambda Literary - Lambda Literary
In the spirit of Alison Bechdel and other comic artists opting for realism over fantasy as their storytelling methods, a new graphic novel depicts the difficulties of growing up as a closeted gay man ... Adrian's adventures are imbued with thoughtful discussions of art and literature, and are made touchingly relatable by illustrator Marie Caillou. -Huffington Post - Huffington Post
Filled with crisp shapes of flat color and precise, geometric lines, Caillou's illustrations capture the restrained quality of Adrian's life, while the serene, muted palette of calm blues and sunset pinks serves as a sharp contrast to the casual cruelty Adrian faces in his community. Her figures and facial expressions are equally impressive, and she artfully depicts meaningful emotions during wordless passages. This French import will find an easy audience among teen fans of realistic graphic novels. -Booklist - Booklist
Listed as juvenile fiction, Adrian has the kind of emotional gut-punch not uncommon in modern young adult novels. -The Advocate - The Advocate