Justine
by Forsyth Harmon

An illustrated novel about isolation and miscommunication, obsession and heartbreak, and unraveling and being remade.

Ali is a teenager on Long Island, and when she visits the local Stop & Shop, she finds herself overwhelmingly drawn to a cashier, the seductive but troubled Justine, and applies for a job on the spot. Justine takes Ali under her wing, and Ali’s fixation on Justine grows. From her, Ali learns a new way to live, one focused on the exterior – how best to bag groceries, what foods to eat (and not eat), how to shoplift, who to admire, and who she can become outside of her lonely home, where her inattentive grandmother hardly seems to notice the changes in Ali. But even as Ali reshapes herself to Justine’s ideals, their inability to connect and speak to each other truthfully only emphasizes their isolation.

Accompanied by Forsyth’s precise and evocative art, Justine is an unflinching, intimate portrayal of American girlhood at the edge of adulthood, and the dangerous illusion of perfect control.

Forthcoming from Tin House in 2021.