Monday, February 22, 2010

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier is creating quite a niche for herself writing smart, funny, relatable stories for the tween girl crowd. Katrina and I both zoomed through her adaptations of the Babysitter's Club series, which were so much fun. Her latest book, Smile, is written in very much the same style, but as an added bonus, is in colour!

Unlike BSC, Smile is based on Raina's own life. Specifically, it begins when she loses two front teeth in a fall, and ends several years (and many dental visits) later. It is a saga of false teeth and braces. Gum surgery also rears its ugly head. It's also about family, friends and boys. It's about looking weird just when how you look starts to matter to you. In other words, the stuff of normal, everyday, middle-class girl life.

The world of teen fiction can be intense, but Smile feels like a breath of fresh air. It's light, understanding and makes you laugh. Often. At things you might have gone through yourself. Like Bill Watterson, Jules Feiffer or Jeff Smith, Raina Telgemeier has a gift.

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