From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Sixth-grader Raina falls and severely damages her two front teeth. Through middle school and into high school, she struggles with peer relationships, discovering her own strengths while enduring painful orthodontia. The concluding pages reveal a self-assured high school student who can indeed smile. Full-color comic panels perfectly capture young adolescence.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The dental case that Telgemeier documents in this graphic memoir was extreme: a random accident led to front tooth loss when she was 12, and over the next several years, she suffered through surgery, implants, headgear, false teeth, and a rearrangement of her remaining incisors. Accompanying the physical treatment came social rough spots with friends, while puberty delivered another set of curveballs with crushes, maturing bodies, and changing family expectations and judgments. Both adults and kids—including various dental professionals and younger siblings—are vividly and rapidly portrayed, giving quick access to the memoirist’s world. Telgemeier’s storytelling and full-color cartoony images form a story that will cheer and inspire any middle-schooler dealing with orthodontia. At the same time, she shows how her early career choice as an animator took root during this difficult period—offering yet another gentle reminder that things have turned out fine for the author and can for her reader as well. Grades 5-8. --Francisca Goldsmith
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