The categorizations at the store where I work are a little weird – I’m the YA buyer, which includes middle grade fiction but does not include any comics or graphic novels for YA/MG/Children’s. I’m also the (adult) Comics buyer now, which I guess makes things even more confusing.
Sometimes titles like this come my way because it’s an intersection between my categories, and I’m glad when they do because I don’t pick up YA/MG comics enough. I really should read more of them, because the ones I’ve read are amazing, and I think more and more good ones will be published in the future – which is pretty exciting to think about!
In Awkward, Peppi starts at her new school with two rules – one, to avoid getting noticed by the mean kids; and two, to seek out a group with similar interests to join. She manages to join the art club, but when she trips into Jaime Thompson, school nerd, she breaks the first rule. The mean kids called her the “nerder girlfriend”, causing her to panic, shoving Jaime away and telling him to leave her alone before running away.
As she concentrates on art club, Peppi starts to make her own friends, but she’s still guilt-ridden for how she treated Jaime. But then she finds out that he’s a member of the science club, the natural enemy of her new group. The school’s limited resources lead the two clubs to war, but after spending time together Peppi and Jaime realise that art and science may not be so different after all.
The story and message may not be new, but I adore Peppi, and the mix of great characters and storytelling makes it awesome. This is basically a cute, funny, and FUN graphic novel perfect for all ages, but especially middle schoolers that are just getting into comics. Oh, and also fans of Raina Telgemeier.