Monday, January 7, 2013


by Raina Telgemeier
224 pages
Middle School+

Raina is a typical twelve year old girl: she has friends, goes to girl scouts and had annoying younger siblings.  One night as she is running across the street to her home, she trips, falls and knocks out her two front teeth!  This starts a series of orthodontic and other dental experts to fix her teeth.  She becomes the dreaded "brace face!"

Along with dealing with several surgeries, she has to deal with becoming a teenager.  Friends change, bodies change, middle school has it challenges, and braces hurt.  Raina has to survive an earthquake, has a crush on a basketball player, and even gets her ears pierced.

Pretty typical adolescent story, tells of Raina's changes from little kid to teenager.  While the braces are an obvious focus, this book deals with a lot of the other issues faced by pre-teens, including first kisses, puberty, family relationships, dealing with scary things (like earthquakes!), and peer pressure.  A lot of pre-teens and teens would sympathize with her various plights.

This is a great book for dealing with all these issues, while not being completely overt about it.    The author based it on her own life, which gives it great authenticity and makes the story believable.  Based in the late 80's to early 90's, it's not totally "modern," but still had many elements that kids will identify with! I loved seeing a TV screen shot of a game Raina was playing and recognizing the game!

Overall, pretty good book.  While I listed it for Middle School aged kids, late elementary would possibly enjoy it as well, especially those starting to deal with these issues.  I would recommend this for many readers.  Great for girls wanting realistic books, but not snarky, preppy girl books or romance.  Will definitely remember it to recommend to people!

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