Smile review

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Graphix, 2010. 978-0545132060

Synopsis: Raina is just a normal sixth grader until she falls and severely injures her two front teeth after a Girl Scout meeting. Now, not only does she have to get braces, but she has to wear fake teeth and carry around dental floss, wax, and a whole lot of other stuff that is just embarrassing! Will Raina be able to smile again or is she doomed to live forever without her two front teeth?

Why I picked it up: I wore braces in junior high and had to carry around a whole arsenal of dental supplies just like Raina.

Why I finished it: Though Raina’s story takes place in the late 80s/early 90s, there is something timeless about the struggles she goes through: dental drama, secret and not so secret crushes, friends drama, and everything that made junior high, well, junior high. Some of the references might go over the heads of the current generation (it makes me feel old when I realize that I know who the New Kids on the Block are…though I was an N’Sync girl myself), the dilemmas are still the same. I loved Telgemeier’s art, since it really brought the story to life without being over-the-top cutsey. As aCalifornia girl, I loved the way she drewSan Francisco, which makes it apparent that although she has bad memories of a certain freeway off-ramp, she does love the city. I’d highly recommend this book for junior high girls, those of us that were junior high girls, and those of us that genuinely feel we survived junior high in one piece.

Other related materials: The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier; The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger; Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LeFleur; Trash by Andy Mulligan; Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes; Countdown by Deborah Wiles; Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin; One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi; The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow; Wonder by R.J. Palacio; Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; The Dork Diaries books by Rachel Renee Russo


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