Smile by Raina Telgemeier

I want to start by saying that I had no real intention of ever reading the Telgemeier books.  I know that they are super popular and that it wouldn’t hurt me to be familiar with them but they are also the kind of books that I am never going to have to suggest to a patron because they will have already read them.  But Tuesday afternoon I was working away when I slammed with a migraine.  I wanted to do something “useful” but couldn’t trust myself with important work.  I grabbed Smile off the shelf and dove in for a bit.

I loved it.

Really, you know what the coolest thing about this book was?  It was close enough to my own childhood to be nostalgic and relateable.  I had no idea that I was going to be looking back on my time but I sure did spot that NES controller pretty fast.  I recognized the scrunches.  I laughed when one girl said she had Joey McIntyre on her retainer.  I suddenly seemed to remember earthquakes being a thing in the early 90’s.

But it wasn’t just the era that I understood.  Raina’s story about growing up and being awkward and figuring yourself out felt like my own.  This is the story of a girl about to get braces who falls and messes up her teeth even more.  She spends four years fixing them and in those four years she goes from a junior high girl scout to a high schooler.  She deals with crushes and spin the bottle and friends who aren’t really friends.  Telgemeier gets it perfectly, how hard it is to be a girl that age.

If ever called upon, I will definitely suggest this one.

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