GRAPHIX, 2014. 978-0545540599
Synopsis: Raina is looking forward to the family reunion in Colorado, but she’s not looking forward to spending three weeks in the car with her younger sister Amara. Sure, when she was younger she really wanted a sister, but the older the girls get, the harder it is to get along. Will the girls survive the road trip and put aside their differences or are they doomed to fight forever?
Why I picked it up: I loved both Smile and Drama, so I was eager to pick this up.
Why I finished it: Growing up with a younger sibling, I can totally empathize with Raina and the numerous disagreements she has with her sister and brother. Those readers with younger siblings will definitely identify with the Telgemeiers as well, and those of us that have survived family road trips know how difficult it is to spend so much time so close together. Telegemeier interweaves narratives from both the past and the present, juxtaposing the years, months, and days leading up to the road trip with the road trip itself. The reader gets to see a little bit of Telgemeier’s life growing up, and she invites the reader into a family album of sorts. We’re seeing a slice of the lives of other families and it makes us feel more normal somehow, knowing that we’re not the only family where the kids don’t get along or always feel like they fit in. There is a poignant moment in which Raina’s mother points out that both girls are artists, and that this is something that they will always share. It brings home the notion that there is always something special that can be shared between siblings, something they can remember even when they get older; there will always be a connection. I love Telgemeier’s art because it has a nice balance between fun and serious, and Braden Lamb’s color work really brings to life the landscapes both outside and inside the car. It has a distinctively cartoon feel, but remains realistic and relatable like Calvin and Hobbes and For Better or For Worse. It’s a quick read and a sweet story about the dynamic between siblings and how at the end of the day, they will always be the ones to have your back.
Other related materials: Smile by Raina Telgemeier; Drama by Raina Telgemeier; The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier; Dork Diaries books by Rachel Renée Russell; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney; Babymouse books by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd; Diary of a Sixth Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi; Zita the Spacegirl books by Ben Hatke; Diary of a Minecraft Creeper by Alex Brian; The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling, illustrated by Margot Apple; Matilda by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake