Published by First Second
Summary: Shannon Hale recounts her elementary school days, starting with her first friend, Adrienne, whom she met in kindergarten. Shannon loved creating imaginary games, and Adrienne was an enthusiastic participant. Adrienne’s family moved away for a year. When they returned to the neighborhood, things had changed. Adrienne befriended second-grade ringleader Jen, and Shannon found herself on the outer fringes of the clique, desperately trying secure her position. Things were pretty rough at home, too, being stuck in the middle of five children and often bullied by a troubled older sister. Finally, in fifth grade, Shannon declared her independence from the clique and learned to make her own good friends. Much to her surprise, Jen admired her independence and became a friend as well. In an author’s note, Shannon Hale tells more about her childhood, and her class pictures from elementary school are included at the end as well. 224 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: Brought to you by the creators of the Princess in Black series, this heartfelt memoir with its message of being yourself will be a hit with fans of Smile, El Deafo, and Roller Girl.
Cons: Shannon’s life got pretty depressing about halfway through the book. (Don’t worry, it all turns around for a happy ending.)