Invisible Emmie

illus. by Terri Libenson. 192p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2017. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780062416254; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9780062484932.
Gr 5–8—Readers follow a day in the life of Emmie, a shy, quiet eighth grader, as she scrambles to finish her homework, dreads gym class, and navigates hallways full of gossipy girls and spitty boys. She copes by disappearing into her drawing notebook. Interspersed between the illustrated chapters are comics-style panels featuring Katie, a pretty, popular, friendly, confident girl also going through the same middle school day. In homeroom, she notices "that quiet girl. She likes to draw. I'd rather talk. Or text." To amuse themselves during lunch in the chaotic cafeteria, Emmie and her best (and only) friend Bri compose gushy love notes to their secret crushes. Inevitably, Emmie drops hers, and it is found and circulated by the obnoxious class clown. Following the discovery of the love note, Katie comes to Emmie's defense, comforts her, and encourages her to stand up for herself. Many readers will recognize themselves in Emmie and her friends, who are at once self-conscious and eager to be seen for who they are.
VERDICT A highly relatable middle grade drama. Recommended for most collections.

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