Shannon Hale shares stories of her elementary school years, mostly focused on school friendships in this graphic novel memoir. Girls’ friendships in those years can be fraught with cliques, and girls can get caught up in the ebb and flow of in-crowds and outcasts. Shannon shares experiences from both sides of that continuum. She also faced backlash at home from an older sister who was also struggling with social relationships and friend issues.
This is a lovely graphic novel memoir along the lines of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile or Cece Bell’s El Deafo. If I was still teaching, I would want to have multiple copies of this one because my students would keep this in circulation all year.
For every Queen Bee clique leader in school, there are 3-10 girls who feel the rush of acceptance and the sting of being shunned that cycles in these circles. Even though Shannon’s story is anchored in the late 70s and early 80s pop culture (Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman, Michael Jackson, Chicago 17), the friend experiences – and some sibling experiences – span generations.
The art work is beautiful and will grab the attention of graphic novel fans. Also, the end notes explain some of the story factors – anxiety and minor OCD behaviors – as well as sharing a little of the “epilogue” that is Shannon’s life today.
This book can give readers a sense of hope and feeling of being understood. They will hopefully glean that they are not alone in the struggle. Perfect for school and home libraries.