I read Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl back when it became a Newbery Honor book, and I was impressed with it. When I saw she had a new book out, then, it went on my list; it shot up to the top when I realized that my 8-year-old had borrowed Roller Girl from her teacher’s library, read it, and loved it. (She’s kind of obsessed with graphic novels. I would have waited a year or two before getting it for her myself, but what’s done is done, right?) So I checked All’s Faire in Middle School out on her library card and read it myself before sending it her direction.
Yeah, I won’t be sending it in her direction just yet. And it’s not because it’s offensive or not a good book, because it’s not and it is. It’s just that she’s EIGHT, and some of the middle school issues and drama–not to mention the peeking at an older girl’s romance novel on the sly–are either straight up a bit old for her or not what I want her to be focusing on. (Which I’m sure is why the suggested age range is 9-12. I’d pass it on to my 11-year-old if I could do it without her younger sister seeing it and completely freaking for it, but they share a room. I don’t actually think that’s possible.) I’m going to return it in favor of some Jennifer L. Holm graphic novels, but I won’t be forgetting about it any time soon. Imogene’s struggles to adjust to a foreign environment, her painful journey through tween girl friend issues, and her interactions (and relationship readjustments) with her family make for a visual reading experience that’s both humorous and poignant; Jamieson does coming-of-age very, very well. If you have a middle schooler–especially a girl–you should grab this one.*
*In the interest of full disclosure, the queen mean girl in the story uses the full length, full strength version of OMG multiple times. We’ve had the conversation with our kiddos that we don’t use that expression long since, and I don’t see them picking it up just from reading this. On the other hand, it is there. Just so you know.