Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Saturday, August 12, 2017

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

How I Heard About It:  Many of my Twitter friends were talking about Victoria Jamieson's new graphic novel.  I added it to my TBR list because I had enjoyed Roller Girl so much.  I had kind of forgotten about it until I came across a booth at ALA where they were given out ARC's.  I was excited to see what all the fuss was about.  This was the 5th story for my 21 Day/21 Book Challenge.  

What It Is About:  Imogene has been home-schooled her entire life.  She has also grown up in a Renaissance Faire environment where both her parents work.  It has been a unique and slightly off the main route upbringing for a girl Imogene's age.  She asks her parents if she can attend public middle-school.  They agree.  At first Imogene can't believe she gets to go to school with all the other "regular" kids.  As the date gets nearer, she gets more and more nervous.  She wonders if she can fit in after spending so many years living a very unusual environment.  When Imogene first gets to school she is surprised at how hard it is to fit in.  The more she tries, the more confused she gets about the "rules" of middle-school.  The other kids aren't sure about her and some give her a hard time while others try to include her.  After deciding she will do anything to be part of the crowd, she realizes just how much she has changed and how much damage she has caused.  

What I Thought Of It:  When I first started the graphic novel I was a bit taken aback.  The setting was in Renaissance time and I thought that was where and when it really took place.  After getting into the story I realized this was just where the character and her family worked.  Once the story got going in "modern" times everything fell into place.  I did find the "language" of Renaissance a bit confusing and wondered if young readers would be able to understand it.  The plot was spot on and the author did a wonderful job of describing what life would be like for a new student in a middle-school.  The events in Imogene's story kept me interested from the start to the end.  

Who Should Read It:  I know more and more children love graphic novels.  Sometimes they gravitate toward specific ones that may or may not be appropriate for their age.  This particular one is a bit tricky.  Overall, it is just fine for any reader.  There are one or two points where the girls in Imogene's life talk about and read a romance novel and the word "sex" is used.  I know fourth graders would be distracted by this.  It is always frustrating when one or two words can take readers off course from the bigger picture of the story.  I've gotten better at talking with students about this and trying to teach them to not make this a BIG deal.  I'm thinking this graphic novel is best suited for readers in grades five and above, but that doesn't mean children younger than this can't read it.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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