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Author: Brosgol, Vera
A girl attends a Russian Orthodox summer camp and struggles to fit in. In graphic novel format.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 2.60
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 195472
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 73747
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (05/01/18)
Booklist (+) (04/15/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/18)
The Hornbook (+) (00/05/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2018 *Starred Review* Vera feels too Russian for her friends in Albany. She can never quite get the hang of sleepover birthday parties, and she’ll never have expensive toys like they do. So when she hears about a summer camp just for Russian American kids, she’s sure she’s finally found her place. But she’s much younger than her tent-mates, and—impossibly—she’s not Russian enough to fit in. She stumbles over the language, doesn’t know all the songs, and generally can’t quite get a handle on roughing it. But what’s more Russian than suffering? With fantastic pacing and poignant emotional turns, Brosgol’s winsome graphic memoir hilariously captures the lengths kids go to in order to fit in as well as the author’s growth from a girl desperate for a place to belong into someone confident enough to stand up for herself. Brosgol’s pitch-perfect art varies between serene, contemplative snapshot-like images of nature and comedic scenes between Vera—cartoonishly drawn with huge, goggle-eyed glasses—and her friends and campmates, all of whom appear in a relatively realistic style. Even though it’s rendered only in black, white, and olive green, Brosgol’s artwork has immense depth, from the facial expressions and gestures to the spot-on visual gags, and she strikes a perfect balance between heartfelt honesty and uproarious, self-deprecating humor. Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale’s Real Friends (2017), this will easily lodge a place in readers’ hearts, even as it has them rolling in the aisles. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2018 Gr 5–8—Brosgol has worked on acclaimed animated films, but she was once a lonely nine-year-old aching for friendship. Here, she relates the story of her monthlong experience at Russian summer camp, where she coped with the horrors of outhouses, feral wildlife, and bug bites, as well as with mean older cabinmates and alienation from her fellow campers. The author/illustrator reprises her cartoony character art and her detailed yet subtle background work. The book eschews the plot-driven and suspenseful storytelling of Brosgol's Anya's Ghost in lieu of a slice-of-life narrative in which problems aren't always neatly resolved. This lends a hard realism to the memoir, in spite of the adorable art style, as young Vera earns small victories and an understanding of herself rather than soaring triumph. The text is simple and accessible, but the relaxed pacing, characters who go often unpunished for cruel behavior, and the brief inclusion of an ill-fated romance set this title apart from more gentle middle grade works. VERDICT A gorgeous, emotional memoir worthy of any graphic novel collection.—Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.