Kyle’s Little Sister

Yen/JY. Jun. 2021. 240p. pap. $13. ISBN 9781975316549.
Gr 4-8–“Kyle is the source of all my problems in life.” So declares Grace, who, after a brief respite from being forced to attend the same school as her athletic, popular big brother, fears that she is doomed to fall under his shadow once more as she enters sixth grade. Grace’s best friends, Jay and Amy, are the distraction she needs from dealing with her brother at school—until strife breaks out among the group. Jay has a crush on Kyle, and overbearing Amy crosses a line trying to matchmake, resulting in a fight that splinters the trio completely. Nervous to approach Jay and hurt by Amy’s cruel words, Grace finds herself suddenly alone. Will she ever have friends again? And when will Kyle stop ruining her life? This is a fast-paced, fresh, and funny take on the tried-and-true fractured middle school friendship story. The problems plaguing the various friend groups are nuanced in scope and resolution. Young people dealing with their own friendship woes will find inspiration and consolation in how Grace approaches her situation, as well as catharsis from her anger and frustration. The artwork is drawn in soft brown outlines colored with cheerful pastels, in a peppy, manga-like style that will appeal to fans of Svetlana Chmakova’s “Berrybrook Middle School” books. Grace and Kyle have light skin and brown hair, Amy has light skin and red hair, and Jay has brown skin and black hair.
VERDICT With endearing characters and compelling drama, this title will serve as a balm for middle graders navigating friendship issues. Fans of Varian Johnson’s Twins and works by Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson will be enchanted.

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