Yen/JY. (Berrybrook Middle School: Bk. 5). Sept. 2022. 256p. Tr $25. ISBN 9781975312794. pap. $13. ISBN 9781975312725. .
Gr 4-8–In this fifth book in the “Berrybrook Middle School” series (counting 2019’s Diary, which included original short stories set in the same universe), artist and gamer Felicity Teale does her best to stay away from drama and maintain friendships in all the different social groups. She historically has had trouble finishing any project she begins, so she embarks on an entrepreneur contest to prove to herself and her family that she is as good as her sister, Letty. Throughout the experience, Felicity finds herself pushing friends away and creating enemies in her social and academic environments. Her childhood best friend is also ghosting her, and she can’t figure out why. This graphic novel tackles relatable middle school experiences ranging from bullying and sibling rivalry to first crushes. With a heavy focus on friendship, Chmakova emphasizes the importance of communication, honesty, and vulnerability. The dynamic panels offer readers an engaging experience, as the illustrations play with the pacing and sequencing of events. As in her other “Berrybrook Middle School” graphic novels, Chmakova uses pastel colors and darkens or lightens backgrounds to emphasize the tone of each scene. With a wide range of diverse characters, the author also challenges traditional gender norms.
VERDICT This graphic novel, which will appeal to Chmakova’s many fans, belongs in libraries for pleasure reading.

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