Sunday, July 8, 2018

MMGM (7/9/2018): Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

For MMGM, I am recommending Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova.




The protagonist of Awkward (a graphic novel) is Penelope Torres (also known as Peppi). Her life at middle school is okay, with her having friends and being part of her school's art club (which constantly fights with the science club). However, on her first day at school, when she dropped all of her things and a shy kid from the science club named Jaime tried to help her, kids in the hall made fun of her, prompting her to shove Jaime away and run off. Her constant guilt at doing so makes her feel miserable and try to avoid Jaime at all costs, but when he becomes her science tutor, Penelope and Jaime start to become friends. As the art club and science club are pitted against each other in a competition, Penelope has to balance working with fellow club member Maribella to print the club's comics in the school newspaper, keeping her still-amiable friendship with Jaime hidden from the other club members, and worrying about how to apologize for her behavior toward Jaime in the past. This book is absolutely wonderful—I finished it in just three days, and it only took that long because I was mesmerized by how beautifully drawn every character and scene is! The characters are vivid and well-written. Penelope is a well-meaning girl, despite her mistake earlier in the book, and her worries about school and interest in art make her a compelling character. Jaime is great as well: while a bit awkward initially, he is shown to be smart, kindhearted, and the only member of the science club who can overlook its conflict with the art club and make friends with one of its members. I do also have to mention how great Maribella is, as she charismatically leads the art club through making newspaper comics for the first time and manages to function despite extreme pressure from her father. The book is filled with revelations and plot events that will keep any reader obsessed with the novel, just as they did with me! Exaggerated expressions and running gags keep the book upbeat and funny, and it also features an immense amount of diversity: characters with Hispanic, African, and Asian origins, students wearing hijabs, people in wheelchairs, and both genders taking prominent roles in both the art and science clubs. All in all, Awkward is a touching, funny, and fast-moving book that has cemented itself as one of my favorites of all time (and prompted me to read the sequel, Brave)—please go buy a copy now and read it, as you won't regret it!

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great read if you got the sequel right away. Glad you enjoyed it so much.

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  2. As always, great to have graphic novels to recommend for kids who are more visual! Thanks!

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  3. I'm so glad you shared this book because I never would have grabbed it from the graphic novel shelf at the local library without a nudge! My favorite word in your review was 'kindhearted'. Thanks for posting about this book today.

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  4. I've put this one the top of my list of books to read. I'm sure once I get started I too will become obsessed with the story. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I'm not much into graphic novels, but I like the sound of this one. Thanks for the review.

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  6. What a fun book for teens who love graphic novels. Love the cover. Looked up Brave too. I know someone who would devour these books. Thanks!

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  7. This sounds like a lovely, fun, summer read and just what I'm looking for! An irresistible cover, too. Thank you so much for the recommendation!

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  8. I really enjoyed BRAVE. I’ll have to check this out!

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