Smile by Raina Telegmeier

7 word review: Middle school’s tough without two front teeth.

Graphic novel, realistic fiction. Stand-alone title. Share with ages 9+.

An autobiographical graphic novel, Smile tells Raina’s story of surviving middle school after she knocks out her two front teeth in an unfortunate tripping accident. The story is as much about friendship and middle school social drama as it is about Raina’s teeth challenges – after all, what 6th grade girl isn’t thinking about cute classmates and trying to fit in (but with the added challenge of no teeth)? The graphics are spot-on and include memorable references to 1990’s teen life (remember Caboodles and NailSlicks?). This fast, realistic read gave me many flashbacks to my own middle school years, and it made me wish I’d had a friend as strong and confident as Raina. Highly recommended.

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