Two new middle grade graphic novels come out tomorrow, May 2nd, and I’ll be ordering both for my library after getting to review them early!
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
(First Second – May 2, 2017)
OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION:
When best friends are not forever . . .
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.
Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group―or out?
Excellent middle grade graphic memoir for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell and Victoria Jamieson. As a child of the 80s myself, I really appreciated all of the 80s references, but the intended audience probably won’t catch those. They will simply focus on this being an incredibly realistic and heartfelt account of family and friendship (and lack thereof) in the late elementary years. All of Hale’s experiences resonated with me, and I know that every 3rd-6th grader I hand this to will absolutely love it. I really appreciated that Hale included her experiences with anxiety and mild-OCD, and also that she made mention of her family’s religion since it was such a large part of her upbringing. I found out in the very back of the acknowledgements that Hale grew up Mormon – it pays to read the back-matter! Required purchase for elementary and middle school libraries.
I received a digital ARC of this book for review – all opinions are my own.
Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson
(Balzer + Bray – May 2, 2017)
OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION:
This is the story of two totally different girls—
quiet, shy, artistic Emmie
popular, outgoing, athletic Katie
—and how their lives unexpectedly intersect one day, when an embarrassing note falls into the wrong hands. . . .
All the crushes, humiliations, boredom, and drama of middle school are compressed into one surprising day in this extraordinary novel.
This is a cute middle grade/middle school graphic novel that will fly off the shelves in both my elementary and middle school library. I liked it (didn’t LOVE it), but I do know my 11-year-old daughter and her peers will be clamoring for it. Lots of cliche characters, but also lots of typical middle grade humor that rings true with students and not for myself. The twist that most reviewers never saw coming was NOT a twist for me, as that’s what I had been thinking was going on anyway (I read no reviews before beginning the book) – it will be interesting to see how kids read/interpret the different storylines told through Emmie and Katie.
I will be purchasing this for both of my libraries due to mass appeal and no overtly objectionable material, with the exception of some clearly unkind/distasteful teasing (“Oh look! It’s Helen Keller! Oh wait, not blind and deaf, only mute“) but as it is clearly identified as inappropriate and mean and retaliated against, I understand the purpose of its inclusion in the story.
I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own.