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Empire State: A Love Story (or Not) by Jason Shiga
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Empire State: A Love Story (or Not): 03/22/13

cover art

Empire State: A Love Story (or Not) by Jason Shiga is a graphic novel about first love and first heart break and growing up. Jimmy, who looks like an older version of Jimmy from Meanwhile also by Jason Shiga, now works at a library and decides to follow his heart and go to Manhattan. I can only presume that Empire State exists in the vanilla timeline where Jimmy doesn't get sick and doesn't get a chance to destroy the world.

Like Meanwhile though, Shiga uses color codes to keep two plot threads separate as they intertwine. Blue is present day and red is flashback. The flashbacks show the friendship between Jimmy and Sara developing. She teaches him about coffee and literature. They share walks around Lake Merritt.

But she's a free spirit and in the present day she has realized her dream of working for a publisher. She's in Manhattan and Jimmy is still living at home with his over protective mother. He works at a library in Oakland. He's shown putting protective covers on books and shelving books but it's never stated outright if he's a clerk or a librarian. She has also found a boyfriend and made a life for herself that doesn't include Jimmy in the way he hopes.

While I liked the time travel aspects of Meanwhile, I connected better with Empire State.

Five stars

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