First Pages: Awkward

First Pages: Awkward

My middle school self has the same eyes that close when smiling, the same oily skin that tends to break out, the same freckles. She may not have the wrinkles or the glasses, but she also did not have the wisdom and love for myself that I have now.

To say that the middle school years were awkward would be an understatement. Lots of confusing emotions and friends and best friends and boyfriends. Or friends who happened to be boys.

Unlike Penelope/Peppi, I was NOT an outsider. But I may as well have been.

I didn’t know myself anymore. At all.

Though I didn’t even realize at the time that I was even trying to find myself!

I’ll be honest and it may be the fact that this graphic novel was titled Awkward that initially drew me to it. And the first pages don’t disappoint. Svetlana Chmakova immediately drops us into the awkward and harsh world of middle school through Peppi’s eyes.

We’ve all been there, during the deeply embarrassing moments. And Chmakova introduces us right away to the potential other hero of the story, Nerder AKA Jaime. I like that Peppi is concerned about her reaction to him, even as she tries to flee the scene too. Chmakova also captures a great deal of action in her illustration, including the scene in which she magnifies the crowd to Peppi’s point of view.

The first pages of Awkward are engaging and awkward in a way that makes me cringe and be happy that I’m not in middle school anymore. I’d rather be my current age and reading and doing what I want, without the insecurities.

Mini Me has read Awkward and Brave, and she enjoyed both of them. The third book in the series, Crush, was just released last week and you can bet that I’m putting it in my Amazon cart right now. :D We are fans of all kinds of books, but lately I’ve been trying to read more graphic novels because there are so many great ones out there. This series is one not to be missed!

SUMMARY: Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don't get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope--Peppi--Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she's already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the "nerder girlfriend." How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can't help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he's a member of her own club's archrivals--the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

I started the First Lines and First Pages series in November 2017 as a homage to National Novel Writing Month.  In the tradition of one of my previous writing groups, I decided to 'share' the first lines of successful middle grade and YA novels in order to figure out what made them successful first pages.  I posted as many as I could in November, and now post the series on the first of every month.

Though I’ve had to post the last two months late, I’m gearing back into the blog and writing again. Let me know in the comments if you have a suggestion for another book to feature in our First Pages series.

[Side note: as I’m finally posting this, I’m listening to one of my favorite albums from when I was in high school, Tape Type Thing AKA CD Type Thing by Big Drill Car. Local (pop) punk band from the 90s.]

First Pages: Crimes of Grindewald

First Pages: Crimes of Grindewald

First Pages: How to Train Your Dragon

First Pages: How to Train Your Dragon