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Review: All Faire’s in Middle School

Newbery Honor winner Victoria Jamieson is back with another middle grade graphic novel that is sure to please a growing fandom of middle grade students who just can’t get enough. Readers who are loving Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward and Brave and Raina Telgemeier’s titles will be thrilled to pick up this latest addition to the middle-grade must-read shelf.

All’s Faire in Middle School
By Victoria Jamieson.
Dial Books for Young Readers. 2017. ISBN 9780525429982
HC, $20.99. 248pp.
Grades 4 and up

all's faire in middle schoolImogene has spent much of her life being part of the annual Renaissance Fair in her small town. After being homeschooled most of her life, she chooses to attend the local middle school. At the same time, she is promoted to squire in the fair. She can earn money each week as she circulates among the guests and visitors, trying to give the fair a realistic feel. At school, she keeps quiet about the fair, hoping not to stand out. As it is, she stands out like a thorn because her family doesn’t have a lot of money and she isn’t used to going to a regular school.

While some critics might say that this is just another story about fitting into middle school, adding the background of the Renaissance fair gives it a unique spin. Middle grade students are eating up these graphic novels, and despite the overall theme that runs through many similar books, it is still an entertaining story that will pull at your heart strings.

There are a few side plots, like the crush Imogene has on one of the Renaissance actors and her’s brother resentment that she purposely threw his favorite toy into the swamp. All in all, the characters will resonate with readers.

The lively artwork captures the scenes at home and school as well as at the fair, so readers will be drawn in. The colors are bright and give the illustrations an overall happy feeling, despite some of the more solemn themes that run through the book.

A worthy addition to any middle grade collection.

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Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 3 and regularly reviews for SLJ, LMC. In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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