All’s Faire in Middle School

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All’s Faire in Middle School

by Victoria Jamieson

 

All’s Faire in Middle School is the story of Imogene’s journey through the first few months of middle school.  Remember when you first started middle school and you didn’t know who you were yet?  I personally remember buying clothes and shoes that looked like everyone else’s, and being embarrassed of my family, although they weren’t any better or worse than my friends’ families.  I knew who the popular kids were and aspired to be friends with them, and looked down on the awkward ones.  These are the struggles that Impy faces when she starts Middle School after being homeschooled for all of elementary.  Impy’s parents aren’t rich, and they aren’t like her friends’ parents in that they are a part of the local annual Renaissance Faire.  Although Impy loves being part of the Faire, she isn’t sure if being herself is the right thing to do.  She finds herself hurting people she cares about and making a fool of herself to impress people she doesn’t really care about in the first place, and she has to find her way out of this very relatable situation without making everything worse.

What I liked about this book is that it’s very relatable.  It’s been awhile, but I can remember the sting of being embarrassed in middle school when what other people thought was the most important thing.  I remember my parents offering to buy me running shoes when I joined the cross country team, but I wouldn’t let them, because the running shoes were neon and ugly, and I only wanted the suede shoes with the star on the side (Converse).  I left the shoe store disappointed.  In this graphic novel (that is perfect for my sixth graders, by the way), Impy makes some choices that she has to live with, and that is a very important thing to expose sixth graders to.

What I didn’t like about this book was the angst I felt.  Regardless of the choices Impy made, not everything was her fault, and that irritated me the way it would irritate a middle schooler.  There was a situation where Impy faced consequences when others at fault were not caught!  Ugh- the frustration of being a tween came back to me.  That is a sign of good writing if it can bring out those emotions after so many years!

Book 34 of 40

 

P.S.  This is book 82 of 2017!  But who’s counting?

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Roller Girl

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Roller Girl (paperback)

by Victoria Jamieson

AR Level 3.2, 2 points

Newbery Honor

 

Roller Girl is a cute and very relatable story about a girl name Astrid and her new passion for roller derby.  She watches the girls skate around the track and decides to join their summer camp, assuming her best friend Nicole will join her, but Nicole decides to go to ballet camp instead.  Astrid learns a lot about herself as a friend and we as the reader remember what it was like to be 12.

What I liked about this book was how relatable it was.  I remember struggling to figure out who my friends were at that age, as well as who I was and what I really liked.  I wanted to think I was the best, being competitive, and was often disappointed when others were better than I was.  One particular part really hit home with me, when Astrid was told she didn’t earn the spot she wanted because of her team spirit.  She was her own worst enemy.  I think this book is really going to appeal to the kids in my class, especially the girls.  I am certain it won’t see my shelves!

What I didn’t like about this book was that it ended too soon.  I am hoping she follows in Telgemaier’s steps and continues to write about her experiences.  Luckily, on the author’s website (http://www.victoriajamieson.com/), she posts webcomics so I can get my fix!

If you haven’t read Smile, Drama, Sisters, Sunny Side Up, or El Deafo, you must.  Graphic novels have become really popular (especially with my girls), and I look forward to new discoveries.  Recommendations welcome!

Book 28 of 40 (year 2)