Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova


After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new friends in the art club, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member. – description from NoveList.

What an awesome middle grade graphic novel! The book has wide appeal and is diverse in many ways, including cultures, body types and abilities. Svetlana manages to cover common middle grade issues like: friendship (boys and girls can be friends too!), bullying, and teamwork with fantastic manga-like artwork. I loved the colourful over-exaggerated panels of Peppi. Hands-down my favourite image is Peppi’s face (page 22) when her teacher holds up her mermaid drawing. It really conveys her reaction!
I loved this book so much I chose it to be featured booktalk for my middle grade school visits. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the Berrybrook Middle School series (Brave and Crush). Be sure to also check out Chmakova’s drawing process included after the story. Readers learn how much effort and thought goes into designing and drawing the characters.

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