Published by Roaring Brook Press
Summary: Alyssa Bermudez used her real diaries from seventh and eighth grade to create this graphic novel that takes place in New York City from 2000 to 2002. Her main concerns starting seventh grade are dealing with the popular kids, her crush on Alejandro, and owning as many pairs of funky shoes as her parents and Catholic school will allow. She slowly matures through the next two years, a process that is hastened by 9/11 (her parents both work in the financial district), her father’s illness, and a desire to get into the best high school she can. By graduation time, it’s clear she’s ready for the new challenges that lie ahead in high school. Includes a 4-page author’s note with lots more information and photos about her life during those years. 288 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: Fans of the Raina Telgemeier graphic novel genre will love the real-life story of Alyssa that includes many light moments (shaving her eyebrows, accidentally dyeing her hair orange), as well as the very serious ones engendered by being so close to the events of 9/11.
Cons: The art is all done in blue and black…I prefer the full-color illustration of Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson.