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I keep getting asked (by girls) for something like Smile.
Finding the Perfect Realistic Graphic Novel
And if you haven't read it, go get it. But in general there aren't a lot of realistic graphic novels for the younger teen crowd. Stuck in the Middle is painfully true, but it is also extremely harsh. Not everyone finds middle school a battlefield.
Then I saw Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge on my new book shelf. Paige Turner (her parents are writers ...and mean) has just moved to Brooklyn from a small suburban town. She's an artist, very quiet and has shockingly red hair. She frets about everything: what to draw, how to talk to people, figuring out New York City, and dealing with her parents. She also has to start a new school mid-year and try to make friends, so life is a bit stressful.
Nothing dramatic happens (well, there is a romance), but it's how the story is told that makes it work. The black and white drawings are big enough for detail and capture city life well.
The Big Questions
Paige asks herself the big questions. How do you become the person you want to be? How do you share your art? What if people don't understand me? Why is my mother so fake-happy? Does everyone feel so isolated and stuck in their heads? Page by Paige lets you see the world from the perspective of an arty, thoughtful teen surrounded by interesting people.
Cynthia R. has successfully repressed the memory of her freshman year in high school, but there might have been blue mascara and a spiral perm. All pictures have been destroyed.