Sometimes you can feel lonely without being alone.
When a talent show is announced to Olive’s fifth-grade class, everyone is excited. Olive has lots of friends and moves seamlessly among different peer groups that include karate-loving boys, a cheer-obsessed trio of girls, and a pair of friends who are aspiring magicians. No one, however, has invited Olive to join their group for the talent show, and her confidence wanes. While her friends are not actively excluding her, she suddenly feels adrift without a clique of her own. A weekend with her funky, green-haired aunt helps Olive decide that she will have her own act, without a group behind her. A bit apprehensive, she announces her decision and discovers that not only have things worked out well, but that she has gained a new measure of self-confidence. This bright and friendly graphic novel is rendered with pleasing, pastel-toned illustrations reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s art and should appeal to a similar audience. While many offerings have delved into mean-girl middle school culture or finding acceptance, Miller’s examination takes a more introspective approach with its female protagonist who ultimately determines that she can find happiness both within herself and in her different groups of friends. Main character Olive presents white, while many of her friends, both male and female, are people of color.
A pleasantly quiet exploration of friends, fitting in, and finding one’s own way. (Graphic fiction. 7-11)