Graphic Novel Review: awkward

If only all books made diversity seem so effortless and normal!

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awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, coloring assistance by Ru Xu and Melissa McCommon, lettering by JuYoun Lee.
Yen Press, New York, 2015.
Middle grade/middle school fiction graphic novel, 210 pages + extras.
Lexile: GN280L  (What does GN mean in Lexile Levels? )
AR level: 2.8 (worth 1.o points)

Penelope (Peppi) Torres has a few rules for surviving at a new school.  But on the very first day, she runs right into a shy boy in the hallway.  What do you do when you’re associated with the school nerd on your first day?  Why shove him away of course!

Beyond the Peppi/Jaimie drama, the main plot of this book follows her friends in the art club as they fight for the right to a table at the annual school club fair while bickering with the science club, their biggest rivals.

awkward-cover-cropped-resized
awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

So why am I reviewing this book? Well, Peppi is clearly a person of color.  My guess based on her portrayal and name is that she’s Latina, but it never really comes up.  In fact, this book is incredibly diverse, with most ethnic groups represented by at least one character.  There is a girl wearing a hijab and a character in a wheelchair.  The characters have ethnically diverse names and sometimes appropriate backstories as well.  But the best part of this?  It has nothing to do with the story!  There is a full plot which just happens to have a diverse cast of characters.

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