There are some amazing graphic novel memoirs out there -- I think nowadays it's the second most popular comics genre after superheroes -- but very few of them are appropriate for middle schoolers. Raina Telgemeier's Smile fills that gap brilliantly.
In her preteen years, Raina had a painful accident that robbed her of her two front teeth. This full-color, beautifully illustrated graphic novel details all the drama that followed, both inside and outside the dentist's office.
Raina's got a lovely, consistent style that I've always admired (and been a little jealous of)...bits of Lynn Johnston mixed in with a charm that's all her own. If your childhood best friend were a cartooning style, she would look like a line from Raina's pen.
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If you want to see the sort of crazy formalist oomph-itude the comics medium is capable of, you need to go buy this book now. It will pop your mind grapes. Seriously.
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