Teenage tension in the Big Apple

Two award-winning cousins beautifully capture the magic and misery of New York through the tumultuous experiences of three young women, writes Rachel Cooke






Roaming Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki Drawn & Quarterly, £25, pp444 It’s 2009 and at Newark airport in New Jersey, a young woman called Zoe, her hair cut newly and severely short, waits for her old school friend Dani, with whom she’s about to spend a weekend in New York, a city neither of them has ever visited before. At home in Canada, both are first-year university students. But they’re studying in different places and they miss each other; this is a longed-for chance to catch up, as well as to play the tourist. There will be shopping in SoHo, slices of pizza “as big as a place mat” and bitter coffee in “We are happy to serve you” cups, just like on the TV show Law & Order. But what’s this? When Zoe finishes hugging Dani – the two of them squeal as if they’ve been separated for years – she looks up to see another young woman: Fiona, Dani’s Montreal dorm-mate, and (she is now informed) an art student and creative genius who works “in fibre” but may soon “pivot to video”. Zoe, amazingly, takes Fiona’s unexpected appearance in her stride, for all that this cuckoo immediately lets her know how boring she finds New York (she’s well acquainted with it, thanks to a loaded Brooklyndwelling brother who may or may not exist). But the reader knows very well what lies ahead, for while two’s company, three is almost always a crowd – and never more so than on holiday. Fiona, with her sass, her opinions (“a real monument to western imperialism” is her only verdict on the Metropolitan Museum of Art), and her taste for booze and weed, looks like trouble. Sure enough, it isn’t long before she’s flirting with Zoe, whispering poison about Dani and throwing up in the back of a yellow cab. Roaming is another collaboration between Eisner award-winning cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki and it’s bliss: a book for anyone who remembers the intensity of teenage female friendships or, for that matter, a first fraught trip to New