*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Smile" by Raina Telgemeier

Tying into my BSC Reading Challenge, I read Smile by Raina Telgemeier (she did the graphic novel versions of The Baby-Sitters Club).  I am quite surprised that I am finding it easier to read the graphic novels.  Though I don't enjoy them nearly as much as traditional novels, they are actually becoming fun reads.  Smile captured and kept my attention wonderfully.  Raina (the story it autobiographical, so yes, the character and the author have the same name) is not looking forward to getting braces but her situation gets even worse when she falls and manages to knock out one of her teeth and (ew) push the other one into her gums.  A good chunk of the book focuses on her various orthodontic woes but also deals with her middle school and high school years- old friends, new friends, first crushes, and just finding out how she fits into the equation.  This book was really sweet and it certainly inspired me to want to read Telgemeir's Drama

As I was reading, I certainly saw a lot of myself in Raina.  Though my teeth troubles weren't quite as traumatic as hers, I could totally relate.  I got my braces the fall of 2002.  I got said braces off in 2006.  In between I had surgery to expose two stubborn baby teeth that would not move on their own, had my wisdom teeth removed and had a lovely jaw surgery that corrected my under bite.  Needless to say, I am really glad all of that is finished (though it is kind of fun to show off the before and after x-rays).  Because of all of this, I was very intrigued by Raina's story.  However, I couldn't help but wonder if those that have gone through braces would be as interested in this book.  Besides the main focus being on teeth, I couldn't help but wonder if the setting would draw readers out.  I personally loved that the book is set in 1989 (my birth year) and is filled with references to Nintendo and The Little Mermaid, but again, these are things that have a personal reference to me.  I can't help but feel like some readers would be turned off by both the content and setting of this book (though I really hope that is not the case).  

I have done quite a bit of reading this year and have already been thinking about what might make it into my Top Ten of the year.  So far this one has a really good chance of being on that list.  I would highly recommend this book to kids that are going to be getting braces soon.  It does give a pretty realistic look into the process plus it's unlikely that their experience will be quite as bad as Raina's so that could possibly ease some fears.  Thanks, Nick, for recommending this book!

Happy Reading!


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