29 August, 2016

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

With comic book month coming up in September I thought I would choose this charming little graphic novel to review. 

The story is about Peppi, a new girl who makes a mistake on her first day. She is mean to a nerdy boy, Jaime, and regrets it. She finds her niche in the art club, who meet across the hall from the science club. These two clubs become rivals in a bid for a table in the Annual School Club Fair. Jaime is in the science club and what is more he is assigned to be her science tutor - AWKWARD!!

I liked the plot and substance in this story, it read well and never felt too dense. It dealt with serious worries for a 'middle school' girl - being the new kid, fitting in, making friends and dealing with increased homework and tests. 

Awkward is funny and smart, it celebrates diverse interests and school community. Mean kids bother them but they are able to get past it because they have like-minded friends and a passion for their interests. There are lots of genuine characters with plenty of ethnic diversity and the differently abled. (Also a great discussion on the merits of art and  science, and a boy-girl friendship that isn't romantic. It's even got geocaching.)

Finally the artwork, verging on manga, is cute and expressive. The artist captures the emotions of those awkward adolescent years with great clarity and humour.

Found in the kids section and aimed at 9+ years I have had "big kids" read it with great enjoyment, so don't miss out on this little gem. If you enjoy this then try anything by Raina Telgemeier who also writes great graphic novels for kids and teens.

Title: Awkward [graphic novel]

Author: Svetlana Chmakova

Recommended by Anita S, Blockhouse Bay Library

Anita S reads widely and eclectically, but most often random non-fiction fact books, good general and teen fiction, (often dystopian future types), fantasy and sci-fi if they cover a new angle on something, kids books and... actually she'll take a look at most stuff. Books are great! She also loves art and illustration.

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