All’s Faire in Middle School

Victoria Jamieson. Dial, $12.99 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-0-525-42999-9
Jamieson doesn’t disappoint in her first graphic novel since her Newbery Honor–winning Roller Girl. Imogen Vega’s parents perform at a Renaissance fair in Florida, immersing the family in a world of jousting and archaic language (“Thou qualling toad-spotted clack-dish!”). Imogen has been homeschooled all her life; now, at 11, she’s headed to public school. In her first weeks, she falls victim to the wiles of a mean girl, hurts a girl who might have been a good friend, and throws her younger brother’s treasured stuffed animal into the lake. As Imogen undergoes a period of self-enforced solitude, the extended family of the fair community offers unexpected support. Jamieson’s sturdy artwork (her figures are decidedly unglamorous, as if to offer regular kids reassurance) and sharp dialogue make it easy to care about her characters. Readers will also appreciate the irreverent humor of the fair’s adults: as a treatment for bullies, one recommends “a large quantity of chicken feathers and a few pots of honey.” The fair emphasizes adventure and theater, but its unconventional performers teach Imogen about kindness, too. Ages 9–12. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/17/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Prebound-Glued - 248 pages - 978-0-606-40484-6
Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-525-42998-2
Other - 978-0-525-48668-8
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