Book: All’s Faire in Middle School (2017)
Author: Victoria Jamieson
Genre: MG, Graphic Novel
Rating: 4 stars
Basic plot: Imogene and her family are part of the Renaissance Faire family. And this year, she’s been promoted to be her dad’s squire. Every weekend, they live in a world of knights and dragons; during the week, Imogene has to navigate middle school. After being homeschooled, this is her first taste of education in the classroom… and, well, she’s finding it difficult to figure out all the unwritten rules. This leads to her trying a few things that don’t exactly end up the way she intended, which includes a suspension from school and estrangement from her younger brother.
1) The Renaissance Faire setting is super fun. We get hermits and dragons and queens! It was interesting to learn about all the behind-the-scenes things that happen. I like how Imogene learns to make her “street” performance her own.
2) The odd friendship between Imogene and Anita is completely realistic… having your “school friends” and your “faire friends”. It happens, especially in middle school! And then, of course, there’s the rift. But I liked how Jamieson resolved everything by the end of the story.
3) At times, Felix drove me batty—I definitely saw why Imogene could lose her temper because of his antics. Still, there were other times when I thought he was a cute little brother. He adores Imogene, but… just as he’s fierce in his love, he’s also fierce in his unforgiveness.
4) I liked the relationship between Imogene and the “Princess” Violet, especially as she helps Imogene prepare her presentation for the dreaded Science class. One of my favourite moments is what Violet says to Imogene when Imogene dismisses the princess in the story of St. George and the Dragon. Violet brings up the princess’s courage and kindness as positive attributes, something to admire. I sometimes feel saddened at the backlash against the princess trope. (Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like a helpless princess who doesn’t have a thought in her head, but really, not all princesses are like that!) I like that Imogene, even if she herself doesn’t aspire to play the role of the princess, learns to respect that we all play different roles in life. And that’s a good thing.
5) Oh, those mean girls! The “friends” of Imogene. (Of course, there’s going to be a set in a story about middle school!) I love how Imogene is even warned by Anita about them. But, I also like how that whole story plays out.
6) I loved how the speech bubble for *Sigh* always seems to be dripping. I could just SEE the sigh!
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) I wish that [SPOILER] Imogene hadn’t found Felix’s squirrel, Tiffany (the one she throws away in the water). I mean, it’s nice for Felix, but it felt a little unrealistic to me. I wish Felix and Imogene could have come to a point where he’s able to forgive her, even without Tiffany making a comeback. [End Spoiler]
My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – A fun book that merges dragons with middle school… but all set in our world. I would recommend, especially to those who want a good graphic novel to read.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…