Published by Graphix
Summary: Natalie is pretty nervous for the first day of middle school, and grateful to have her best friend Lily by her side. Lily moved over the summer and has been somewhat uncommunicative, but Natalie is sure everything will be fine once they’re back in school together. But on the first day, Lily’s hanging out with cool and popular Alex, and dismisses Natalie as a nerd. Fortunately, Natalie quickly makes a new friend, Zoe, but she still wants her best friend back, and spends weeks trying to figure out how to be cooler so Lily will like her again. Slowly, Natalie starts to discover her artistic talents, and to listen when Zoe points out that Lily isn’t acting like a friend. Winning a contest with her graphic story turns things around for Natalie, and she learns the importance of discovering what she can do versus focusing on what she can’t do. Book 2 is due out September 1. 240 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: The latest graphic series from Graphix is sure to be a hit, checking all the boxes for a tried-and-true middle school series: the end of a friendship, the beginning of another, a first crush, and learning to be yourself. Appealing to reluctant and avid readers alike.
Cons: The plot was a little too tried-and-true for this reviewer, who has read many, many books with similar stories. Hopefully, kids will bring a fresher perspective to the story.