Review Detail

Kids Fiction 214
Living in a sibling's shadow
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Grace is just entering 6th grade, and will be rejoining her older brother Kyle at school, where he is a popular and athletic 8th grader. Grace resents him, especially since her friend Jay has a crush on him. Their friend, Amy, often pushes Jay out of her comfort zone, and soon the girls have a falling out. Grace has worried about fitting in at middle school, since she is more of a quiet gamer, and now finds herself eating lunch alone. When popular but mean spirited Cam befriends her, "accidentally" bumping in to Amy and spilling things on her, Grace is a bit leery, but glad to have a friend. Cam continues her mean streak, refusing to let a new girl sit at their table, and asks to be introduced to Kyle, on whom she also has a crush. When Grace refuses, Cam cuts her off and is very mean. Amy and Jay, who have reached a détente, see how Cam is treating Grace and tell Kyle about it. Kyle confronts Cam, which doesn't really help things. Will Grace be able to reconnect with her friends and find a way to be les resentful about her brother?
Good Points
Friend drama is a huge attraction when it comes to plots that my students request, and this has plenty of drama! Yen Press also publishes Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward, Brave, and Crush which I have had to replace several times, and the themes are very similar. There's a wide range of middle school experiences, and we get a few glimpses of Grace's home life, which is supportive even though her father is away. There's also a decent amount of true-to-life middle school romance.

The art style will appeal to younger readers, but and has a bit of a Manga-like feel to it.

Like Telgemeier's story lines (would anyone read a novel about dental trauma?), this tale of mean girl drama in middle school will probably go over well with young readers who adore graphic novels, even ones like the Tessier and Amandine Chloe graphic novels. This is on trend with students struggling to find their place and navigate middle school while dealing with anxiety.
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