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Blue Is the Warmest Color (Le Bleu est une couleur chaude) is a French graphic novel authored by Jul Maroh and published by Glénat in March 2010. Arsenal Pulp Press published an English translation in 2013.

Clémentine, a high school student, struggles to define her sexual identity, between taking a false boyfriend, kissing back a friend on her lips (said friend having kissed her by jest) and having homoerotic dreams fueled by a blue-haired girl she met in the street on the arms of another woman.

The day after she dumps her beard, her friend Valentin comes out of the closet and brings her to a gay bar, where she meets the blue-haired girl (an art student named Emma) and her girlfriend, Sabine. Thus begins a love triangle between the three girls, with Emma eventually dumping Sabine for Clémentine.

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This novel was adapted into a film of the same name for the English release, or La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 in France by Abdellatif Kechiche in 2013.


Tropes:

  • The Beard: Clémentine has a boyfriend, who she dumps after her attraction to a woman becomes obvious. He didn't realize that he'd been inadvertently in the role, and Clémentine didn't feel it was right to make him think otherwise any longer.
  • Butch Lesbian: Emma's girlfriend Sabine, who dresses in a very masculine manner, can easily be mistaken for being a man, sports a buzz cut and is an outspoken LGBT activist.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Fabienne's chronic insomnia. She catches Emma walking naked after leaving Clémentine's room...
  • Coming-Out Story: Much of the story is about Clémentine coming out to herself, and then also other people. Her friend Valentin is also gay and came out to her early on, which helps Clémentine do the same.
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  • Diabolus ex Machina: Just as it seems that Emma and Clémentine are going to be happy together, it turns out that Clémentine has been dying of heart disease all along without realizing it. The drugs that she took made her heart even worse.
  • Diary: Clémentine's diary entries narrate the story.
  • Didn't Think This Through: One night after making love with Clémentine, Emma goes downstairs naked to get some milk. What she didn’t take into account is the possibility that at least one of Clémentine's parents could walk in on her. The mother does this, and it goes downhill from there.
  • Fag Hag: Subverted as Clémentine, Valentin's friend, is herself queer, and didn't even realize he was gay at first.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Clémentine dies. As this is revealed at the beginning, we know it's going to happen from the very first page.
  • Foreshadowing: Early on in their relationship, immediately following Immodest Orgasm, Clémentine jokes about Emma giving her a heart attack, saying that her cause of death will be stated as "death by orgasm". Fast-forward 15 years, and Clémentine and Emma are having makeup sex on a beach, when Clem's orgasm gives way to a sudden heart attack. She lands in the hospital and dies within 10 pages.
  • Freak Out: Clémentine’s mother, upon finding out about her daughter’s romance with Emma. She first sees the latter naked in the kitchen, much to her shock. And she quickly connects the dots, and goes to her daughter’s room to check on her, who is also naked. This sends the mother over the edge.
  • Functional Addict: Clémentine, an English teacher, becomes one when she's dumped by Emma.
  • Gay Best Friend: Valentin for Clémentine.
  • Gayngst:
    • Clémentine, who sufferers from homophobia by a friend of hers and also her parents. It takes a long time for her to accept her sexuality.
    • Emma in her backstory. She didn't suffer homophobia, but tried to deny her sexuality for a time too. In fact, it was her mother who helped Emma accept the fact.
  • Get Out!: Upon finding out their daughter’s secret in the worst way possible, Clémentine’s parents force her and Emma to get into some clothing, and then kick them out of the house.
  • If It's You, It's Okay:
    • This could be said of Clémentine and Emma's relationship, at least initially, as Emma is the only woman Clémentine is ever with.
    • Clémentine also cheats with a man, and that's possibly also this, or simply her being bisexual.
  • I Have No Daughter: Clémentine is disowned by her parents when they find her and Emma nude together.
Her father: If you leave with her, then you are no longer my daughter.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Sabine, especially when she's confronting Clémentine, is hard to distinguish from a man by her looks.
  • Love at First Sight: Clémantine and Emma in the street a year before they met again.
  • Love Triangle: Sabine-Emma-Clémentine. Eventually it resolves into just Emma and Clémentine.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Emma is masculine in comparison with Clémentine, who's more feminine, though it's a mild example.
  • No Bisexuals: Even though Clémentine cheats on Emma with a man, she's still never identified as a bisexual. However it seems odd that she'd sleep with him otherwise, long after she accepted her attraction to women.
  • Oh, Crap!: Emma has this look when she notices Clémentine’s mother staring wide-eyed in shock at her as she is standing nude in the kitchen. It gets worse as the scene goes on.
  • Posthumous Character: Clémentine, who is dead at the start of the story. Emma reads the diary she left for her to start things off, which shows how they met years before.
  • Posthumous Narration: Clémentine, through her diary.
  • Queer Romance: Clémentine falls for Emma and struggles over coming to grips with her sexuality before the pair get involved.
  • Silence Is Golden: When Clémentine’s mother first sees Emma naked in her kitchen, all dialogue, including speech bubbles and narration boxes, suddenly stops. The whole dramatic scene of her mother and father yelling and kicking Clémentine out of the house is shown in utter silence.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Emma is often seen wearing tanktops, along with other slightly masculine clothing.
  • Their First Time: After being followed to her home by Clémentine, Emma tells her she didn't want to take her home because she feared being unable to refrain from acting on her desire for her. They then passionately have sex.
  • Title Drop: At one point Clémentine comments on the different shades of blue.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Clémentine and Emma. They have both slightly messy hairstyles.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Clémentine and Emma have made up on the beach after a nasty break up, and they begin having fun and making love once again. But then the former has a sudden seizure, and she winds up in the hospital, unable to continue her romance with the latter anymore.

Alternative Title(s): Blue Is The Warmest Colour

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