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Kyle’s Little Sister | Review

Book Cover - Kyle's Little Sister

When I started Kyle’s Little Sister, I thought I would be reading a story about being in the shadow of your older brother. A story we “youngers” understand.  But instead, this book was really a lot more than just about being a little sister. It was about friendship, misunderstandings, middle-school angst, with a dose of family drama. Almost every reader will have something to identify with when reading this story.

Kyle’s Little Sister
By BonHyung Jeong
Yen Press, 2021
Grades 5 and up

Grace has always lived in the shadow of her older brother Kyle. Brother and sister could not be more different: Kyle is confident and popular, and he likes sports. Grace is quiet and prefers video games and board games with her friends. When she starts middle school, she knows she’ll be in his shadow, but with her two best friends Jay and Amy, Grace thinks she’ll be all right and hopes she can carve out a place for herself.

When Amy pushes too hard on helping Jay get Kyle’s attention, because Jay has a crush, the friends have a huge fight. Grace is lonely and doesn’t “smell a rat” when Cam befriends her. It seems like Cam is genuinely interested in Grace but really she is using Grace to get close to Kyle. When Grace confides in Cam about her fight with Amy and Jay, Cam and her popular friends start to bully Amy. Grace is uncomfortable, but still too upset at her friends to make amends.

Throughout the story, Grace learns about herself, the true meaning of friendship, and of course that brothers can be okay. While Grace blames many of her problems on Kyle, she realizes that he isn’t the core of all her problems. She’s made many of her own.

This title is part of Yen Press’s original English manga. Readers who enjoy Svetlana Chmakova’s Berrybrook Middle School series will love this title. The lovely artwork fits the format well. Readers who are familiar with and enjoy manga will feel at home with the artwork and enjoy the added bonus of color, which is not typical of Japanese-style manga. The soft color palette is pleasing and offers up a different picture than I would have conjured without the colorization. The facial expressions pop and add depth to the story.

This thoughtful story will resonate with middle-grade readers.

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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. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. 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 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly 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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