Life is complicated enough for middle-schooler Raina before she gets hurt and needs advanced dental surgery. This incredibly relatable autobiographical graphic novel chronicles the tumultuous years of Raina's junior high, focusing especially on her dental difficulties, but also touching on the everyday challenges of becoming a teenager.
Smile is an excellent example of how the graphic novel medium can be more than the sum of its parts, with the text and images working together in the "show don't tell" style. Catty dialogue of pre-teen girls show their true characters rather than outright labeling them bad friends. There are no tiresome descriptions of feelings, as the expressive illustrations convey it all without words. Kids, tweens, and teens alike will find something they can relate to, whether it's friendship challenges, crushes, or the physical and emotional pain of braces.
This book is highly recommended for upper elementary and middle school readers. Boys and girls alike will sympathize with the heart-filled story and be drawn in by the welcoming art.
This book was riveting and easy to connect to. Although I never had such extensive dental work, I know about the repeated pain of having your braces tightened just as your teeth start to feel okay again, and she did a great job relating the experiences. Raina did very well balancing the events that called for more detail, and summarizing what happened with other situations. It was wonderful to see what happened with her friends, as I was very bothered with how they behaved. I even found myself near tears more than once.
I haven't read many graphic novels, or biographies, but now this is easily my favorite book in both genres.
I loved this book! I really liked the pictures. They were excellent! I definitely enjoyed the story and I don't have braces, but it kind of made me think about all of the people around me who do have braces... like my friends. My friend introduced it to me before she got braces, and later when she did get them, I don't think it was that big of a deal.