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JUST JAIME by Terri Libenson Kirkus Star


by Terri Libenson ; illustrated by Terri Libenson

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-285107-9
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

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)