This third installment in the Snob Squad adventures lives up to its predecessors (Define Normal, 2000, etc.) by again blending humor with depth. Twelve-year-old Jenny struggles with her weight, which results in wry self-deprecation and the keeping of a food diary that evolves into a daily journal. Jenny is the sometime leader of the Snob Squad, a mix of four slightly outcast personalities. Tension is created in school by the obvious favoritism shown to Ashley Krupps, the principal’s daughter. When money is stolen from the sixth-grade teacher’s purse the Snob Squad sets out to prove it was Ashley’s crime. Meanwhile, at home, Jenny’s family struggles to forge a stronger family bond as they begin a weekly family night; her parents begin marriage counseling and her sister, Vanessa, battles anorexia. There are numerous red herrings as more money goes missing and no one, including Jenny’s boyfriend, seems innocent. As evidence piles up against each character, neither Jenny nor the reader knows whom to blame. Even Jenny is not above suspicion. It is, however, a surprise when the culprit is finally revealed. By the close, everyone has learned that perfection is unattainable, but forgiveness, trust, and loyalty are the foundation of friendship and family. Eminently readable, it’s a story strong in plot and memorable characters while offering some powerful insights on sustaining solid relationships. Jenny’s sharp wit enlivens the story throughout. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-316-70287-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.


Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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