SMILE by Raina Telgemeier

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Raina was already dreading getting braces–particularly since correcting her overbite would require her to wear headgear!  Even if she only had to wear it at night, it was still a social nightmare.  But when she tripped and accidentally knocked out her two front teeth, the nightmare got even worse.  Raina had to endure a series of painful operations and start middle school with a set of fake teeth that she was sure everyone would notice.  In the format of a graphic novel, Raina tells the story of her experience growing up with braces, as well as dealing with friendship troubles, trying not let her crushes know she likes them (but secretly hoping they’ll find out!), making decisions about her dreams and goals for the future, and trying to keep her self-esteem high despite the metal in her mouth.

This graphic-memoir is a great book for girls who are going into middle school and/or getting braces.  It touches on all of the friendship and self-esteem issues that are typical for tween and teen girls and normalizes a lot of the challenges of growing up.  Plus, Raina’s story is engaging and fun to read.  It will likely appeal to girls who like realistic fiction books like Dork Diaries, Babymouse, Dumped by Popular Demand, or Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf.

If you liked Smile, you might also like El Deafo by CeCe Bell.

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