Library, 224 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Turtleback
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
This graphic novel takes an honest and unflinching look at a girl’s many many problems with her teeth. She knocks out two of her front teeth while running with her friends and thus embarks on a pain filled journey that is recorded in this remarkable graphic novel.
I sometimes have nightmares that my teeth fall out or I bang them against the wall or something like that. When I had my baby teeth, I broke one by running full speed into a sugar cane truck and the other by running into a boy who was supposed to be chasing me (in kindergarten). Thankfully, these were baby teeth and not the permanent ones otherwise I would have been in for a lot of grief. Telgemeier’s recollection of her experiences is funny, heartfelt and just so relatable. She doesn’t just have to content with her many teeth problems (retainers, braces etc) but also growing up and growing apart from her group of friends. Falling for a boy younger than her and then again for a boy who never notices her.
It is a fairly short read that has a fast pace as graphic novels are wont to have and finishing it leaves you smiling and perhaps wincing in sympathy or feeling empathy for someone who has had to go through so much just for her smile. I recommend this, really. It’s funny, quirky and heartwarming. What else do you need?