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.