JUST JAIME

A delightful tale that navigates the precarious ebb and flow of friendship dynamics.

Jaime’s best friend, Maya, is acting strangely—as a matter of fact, so are all of Jaime’s circle of friends.

With this the last day of seventh grade before summer, Jaime needs to get to the bottom of what appears to be a coup to kick her out of their friendship circle. Maya has been nominated by the newest, most attention-seeking and controlling member of the group, Celia, to break the bad news to Jaime that she’s indeed been voted out of the group. From the time Jaime and Maya see each other on the morning bus throughout the tension-filled day that feels like a roller-coaster ride, both dread the confrontation. But while being ostracized, Jaime is invited to a new friend group, and Maya finds herself ambivalent about being led by the nose by the popular Celia, who holds all of the strings of power within their circle. When Jaime reaches an emotional breaking point, her French teacher, Madame Zukosky, sympathetically shares her own experiences, even confessing to having ghosted a friend long ago. Libenson writes in alternating chapters from the first-person perspectives of Jaime and Maya, mixing prose with sketches and comics panels, punctuating both with humorous dialogue readers will find familiar and sometimes painful. Jaime has brown skin and Maya, white, but cultural background plays no part in the story.

A delightful tale that navigates the precarious ebb and flow of friendship dynamics. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-285107-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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