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Awkward Paperback – July 21, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Flawed protagonist Peppi is fantastically imperfect in this middle school graphic novel. She is the new girl at Berrybrook Middle School and is having a hard time fitting in because of her struggles with social anxiety. The work opens with the young teen pushing away the first person who tries to help her, Jaime, and it only gets more awkward from there. A feud between Peppi's after-school art club and Jaime's science club springs up. Can the two groups stop fighting long enough to earn a spot in the school fair? Will Peppi overcome her social anxiety and apologize to Jaime? Will any of them feel comfortable enough in their own skins to have a good school year? The story is told with a clear, believable voice. Diversity is reflected in this average middle school setting, and there are characters from a variety of ethnicities and are differently abled. Chmakova is an adept storyteller and organically incorporates messages of kindness and understanding without being preachy. The placement of the text and images were carefully considered. The illustrations and lettering are playful, bright, and fun, in keeping with the tone of the work. Readers will connect with the relatable, complex characters. VERDICT A superb graphic novel that authentically depicts the naturally awkward adolescent years.—Julie Zimmerman, Brooklyn Public Library --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Svetlana Chmakova was born and raised in Russia until the age of 16, when her family emigrated to Canada. She quickly made a name for herself with works like Dramacon, Nightschool, the manga adaptation of James Patterson's Witch & Wizard, and the webcomic Chasing Rainbows. She graduated from Sheridan College with a three-year Classical Animation Diploma. Her latest work for middle grade readers, Awkward, has been a runaway critical success and was named one of YALSA's 2016 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens!
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Peppi is a young girl who doesn't fit anywhere except her art club. Her first day of school she embarrasses herself and ends up hurting the feelings of the nerdiest kid in school. This boy, Jamie, ends up joining the art club's arch-rival the science club. As the club's duke it out in the halls, Peppi and Jamie duke it out on the emotional level, both learning to come out of their shells and save their beloved clubs from cancellation.
What else can I say? The art is beautiful. The characters are beautiful. The situation is beautiful. The humor is beautiful. Why are you still reading this when you could read the book?
It did not disappoint - this is a beautifully drawn and told story of growing as a person, making friends and learning from ones' mistakes as seen through the eyes of Peppi, a middle school girl, finding her place in a new environment. From awkward situations at school, to hidden problems at home and learning to say "I am sorry", it is really easy to relate to the characters and situations both for kids and adults.
Loved it - a great book that is a perfect read /gift for any kid going to school (and any adult who remembers what it was like).