Becoming Brianna

Featured
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
955 0
Becoming Briana
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
May 05, 2020
ISBN
978-0062894540
Buy This Book
      
Middle school is full of challenges.

Everyone knows how much brainy Bri likes the spotlight (not). So why did she ever agree to something that forces her to learn a new language, give a speech, help organize a party, and juggle drama at school and home?! As the big event inches closer, Bri wonders if it’s all worth it. . . .

Told in alternating past and present chapters, Bri’s heartwarming story unfolds over the eight months leading up to her bat mitzvah—as well as over the course of the big day itself.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Public Speaking Anxiety
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Like this author's Invisible Emmie, Positively Izzie, and Just Jaime, this newest highly illustrated notebook novel about Brianna's experiences with an upcoming Bat Mitzvah can be read alone, but is set at the same school and includes characters from previous books. Brianna, who is already dealing with the fact that her parents have divorced, has given in to her mother's desire for her to have a significant bat mitzvah celebration. The family is not terribly religious (Brianna's father is not Jewish), but Brianna understands that this is somehow very important to her mother and acquiesces even though she has a lot of anxiety about public performance. Not only that, but she is struggling to learn Hebrew, and is not confident about the speech that she has to write, especially since she leaves it to the last minute. She is also at odds with her best friend, Emmie, who is not only tired of hearing about the bat mitzvah, but also doubts that popular girl Zoe is really Brianna's friend. Zoe texts Brianna frequently, and makes an effort to talk to her and hang out, but the two don't really click, and Emmie feels that Zoe has heard rumors about the bat mitzvah party and just wants to be invited. Going back and forth in time from Brianna's preparations to the present day, we see a panoply of anxiety producing events through which Brianna must travel to prepare for her coming of age ceremony, and witness how she and the people who support her deal with them.
Good Points
Graphic and notebook novels are hugely popular among middle school readers, especially ones who find the text-to-illustration ratio comforting. These books do have some sections with narrative text, but have far more pictures than the average notebook novel (like Kinney's Wimpy Kid or Peirce's Big Nate). Libenson's comical illustrations and hand lettered text are a huge draw.

We have seen Brianna before; her mother does drama camps and encourages her daughter to be more forthcoming. We do learn some interesting information about the mother's own performance at her bat mitzvah, which sheds a lot of light on her motivations for encouraging Brianna.

Friend drama is a constant in middle school relationships, and the desire to make new friends, especially ones seen as more popular, is a source of difficulties. Emmie is more realistic about Zoe's motivations, and has a lot of cogent observations about how real friends interact. Of course, Brianna dismisses them. It is good to see that Brianna eventually understands Zoe's motivations, and has managed to make some new friends in the meantime. When she invites these new friends to her party, I thought it was very interesting how she negotiated with her mother how she would pay for their meals.

Freedman's My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, Weissman's A Length of String, and Rosenberg and Shang's This is Just a Test all cover Jewish culture and coming of age ceremonies, but since this is a key component to the middle school experience for many young readers, we can use many more books on the topic. Brianna does talk about some issues of faith, which is a bit unusual and very welcome. My own experience of confirmation class in seventh grade was very pivotal in my religious beliefs.

Readers who enjoyed Telgemeier's coverage of anxiety in Guts, Jamieson's trouble with fitting in in All's Faire in Middle School and Scrivan's Nat Enough will be eagerly awaiting this new installment of Libenson's work.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Phoebe Unfired
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
CONNECTING IS TOUGH WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN TOUCH ...
Thirty Talks Weird Love
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A 13-year-old girl growing up in Mexico is visited by...
Admission
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lie. Cheat. Bribe. How far would you go to get...
Running
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president,...
City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
City of Spells, the follow-up to Alexandra Christo's gritty YA...
Christmas Parade
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
A delightful Christmas board book filled with hilarious characters and...
Best Friend in the Whole World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Roland lives a quiet life filled with books, music, and...
Bird Show
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Award-winning author-illustrator Susan Stockdale welcomes you to the Bird Show,...
Down Comes the Night
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw...
My Book of Feelings (My World)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inspired by the Montessori method of education this unique board...
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery...
My High School Rebel Boyfriend
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
He’s a rebel with a cause… to make my...
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel comes...
Dark Stars
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dorothy finds herself completely alone. Roman is dead. The...
Follow Your Arrow
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this...
Daughter of Darkness
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
She is destined to kill a demon. He is...

Latest Member Reviews

Christmas Parade
 
4.5
"CHRISTMAS PARADE is another cute and brightly colored board book from Boynton. In this book, children see a Christmas parade,..."
Best Friend in the Whole World
 
5.0
"BEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WORLD is a sweet picture book about friends and doing the right thing. Roland lives..."
The Threads of Magic
 
3.0
"Pip picks pockets to get food for himself and his sister, El. When he picks something unexpected, a mysterious box..."
The Smile Shop
 
3.5
"THE SMILE SHOP is a cute story about a young boy who is shopping for something special. He has a..."
Stanley's Lunch Box
 
4.0
"STANLEY'S LUNCH BOX is a cute board book that combines a favorite character with a shopping trip to the market...."
What Are Unicorns Made Of?
 
3.5
"WHAT ARE UNICORNS MADE OF? is a brightly colored board book that questions what makes a unicorn. The rhyming text..."
Grandfather Bowhead, Tell Me a Story
 
4.5
"GRANDFATHER BOWHEAD, TELL ME A STORY features a grandfather and grandson whale who are sharing stories. The grandchild asks for..."
Stanley's Toy Box
 
4.0
"Stanley heads to the park with Little Woo and Betty in this cute board book. STANLEY'S TOY BOX depicts a..."
Peek-a-Boo Little Reindeer
 
4.0
"PEEK-A-BOO LITTLE REINDEER is a simple and cute board book with felt flaps to lift on each page. Little Reindeer..."
The Last Fallen Star
 
5.0
"Riley Oh is thrilled for her sister, Hattie, to finally be formally initiated into the Gom clan on her 13th..."
Rescue
 
5.0
"What worked: Engaging historical set during WWII. What interested me the most of this novel is how codes were used..."
Paris Cat
 
3.0
"PARIS CAT is an imaginative picture book about a cat that lives in an alleyway of Paris but dreams of..."
The Last Hazelnut
 
5.0
"THE LAST HAZELNUT is a sweet picture book about friendship, forgiveness, and sharing. Tim and Teo are best friends, and..."
The Night Walk
 
4.5
"THE NIGHT WALK takes the reader on a walk at night through the village and into the wilderness. Parents wake..."
My Very Merry Ugly Christmas Sweater
 
5.0
"MY VERY MERRY UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER is a fun touch-and-feel book that captures all the fun of Christmas attire. The..."
You and Me
 
5.0
"YOU AND ME is a sweet book about love between caregiver and child. The lyrical poetry of the rhyming text,..."
Baby's First Farm
 
4.5
"BABY'S FIRST FARM takes readers on a delightful lift-the-flap journey around the farm. The board book is a simple story..."
Can I Come Too?
 
4.0
"CAN I COME TOO? tells the story of a small mouse who decides to go on a big adventure to..."
Karma Moon: Ghost Hunter
 
3.0
"Karma Moon loves living with her dad in their New York neighborhood, answering phone calls for his Totally Rad documentary..."
Beetle and the Hollowbones
 
5.0
"Beetle is a goblin-witch who isn't loving the small magic her grandmother teaches her. She'd rather hang out with Blob..."