Author: Raina Telgemeier
Publisher Information: Graphix., Paperback February, 2010
Synopsis: Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
Oh goodness, I loved this book. When Julia told me she had wanted to read it, but her school library wouldn’t let her because it was in the middle school section, I decided to just purchase it to see if I thought it was something she shouldn’t read just yet. I didn’t expect to fall in love with the book or to have it take me back to my old childhood as much as it did.
Raina tells this true life tale in the form of a graphic novel. She had an accident which knocked out her two front teeth in sixth grade and has to undergo surgeries and braces while navigating that rough period of personal transition. I never had that happen to me, but I can relate to growing up, feeling awkward, and coming into myself. Since we are the same age there was a lot of nostalgia with the things that were drawn in (like the 8 bit nintendo) and her beauty products.
The story feels very real to me; there is definitely authenticity to the voice of the book. The relationships Raina has with her siblings, her parents, and her friends were all very similar to the relationships I had growing up. I can see this book standing the test of time, with a story that can appeal to anyone who picks it up
Recommended for: Ages 8 and up.
Rating: 4 and a half stars
Smile was a really good book. I related to Amara because we both have a big sister that we fight with a lot. I also related to Raina because I have a crush on someone I go to school with.
I love Raina’s characteristics. She can be really funny and even though she is always yelling at her sister, I do like her. There wasn’t anything I disliked about the book.
One of my favorite parts was when Raina made a new friend after her other friends were mean to her. It was great that she stood up for herself.
I don’t think I was too young to read this book. I don’t know why it was only in the middle school library and I think other girls my age would like to read this book too.
Julia’s Rating: 5 stars