Cross My Heart and Never Die
Translated from Norwegian to English, this book is formatted as the diary of Tuva, who is 12 years old. Tuva is heading back to school after the summer holidays but doesn’t realise that everything is about to change as her best friend has a new boyfriend and no longer wants to build forts in the forest like they used to do. Tuva is stuck in the middle, as she gets pulled in two different directions, she must figure out what she wants for herself while navigating her own first crush.
Even though the cover suggests that this story is a love story, similar to Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, this book is actually a story about how friendships evolve and change as children grow up.
With naturalist themes, the illustrations are sketched in a doodle style with lots of attractive pastel colours reflecting how Tuva is feeling in each diary entry. Tuva’s character is alive on the page and her emotions are felt throughout with little jokes that make the reader feel as though they are sitting in Tuva’s brain.
There were certain choices in the book that felt slightly juvenile, suggesting that this book might suit a readership who are younger than the main character. In addition to this, some moments in the book seem to suggest an expectation that if you are not in a relationship, you are lonely and even by the end of the book these negative opinions are not resolved.
Tuva’s story would be engaging to readers that are navigating changing friendships, crushes and coming of age.