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“Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
Summary: Maddie, her Mom, and her sister move into her grandmother's house in the suburbs when her parents split. The divorce is the least of Maddie’s problems. She is labeled a misfit right away, thanks to her grandma's obsession with unicorns. To escape, Maddie spends a lot of time drawing mangas and creating her manga role-playing character in an online game. A teacher at school starts a manga club with Maddie’s help. She also enters a drawing contest. Is this enough to turn her life around? Will Maddie find kids like her in the manga club? This is a graphic novel that is told through manga and dialogue.
Type of Reading: independent reading
Recommended Age: read together 9 and Up; read yourself: 10 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: Cool drawings at the beginning of each chapter set the mood as you read. The way the author sets up the interchange is very believable. There are the stereotypical characters: the goodie-two-shoes little sister; the popular cheerleaders; and the friend of the meanest, coolest dude who gets the girl. However, they drive the story and make the unexpected twists and turns stand out. This book is definitely for middle and high school students who would come into contact with manga, online gaming, chatting, and alternative lifestyles. I bought this book and have read it a lot.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Great illustrations and realistic exchanges make this a great read for teens.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. Our teen reviewer bought the book from a book fair in middle school and has read it many times since then.
Educational Themes: There are several themes that you can explore with a teen reader (divorce, change, for two); acceptance and love; and finding one's passion. For kids interested in manga or drawing, this could be an inspiration to draw.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from the local library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - graphic novel, middle grade, young adult, family
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2012
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.