Just Jaime

Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins/. May 2019. 256p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780062851079; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780062851062.
Gr 4-7–On the last day of seventh grade, Jaime and her best friend Maya are determined to talk about why things have grown awkward between them. Fans of Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy will recognize this chatty pair. Jaime doesn’t understand why Maya has been distant, and Maya wishes that Jaime would try harder to fit in with the crowd. Celia, the cool girl who wears makeup and kissed someone at summer camp, persuades Maya to shut Jaime out of their group. Maya is charmed by Celia’s attention and goes along with the plan, to everyone’s eventual regret. Jaime’s side of the story is told in short chapters with doodled spot illustrations. Maya’s perspective is rendered in full comics panels. In the end, Jaime stays true to herself—with the support of caring adults as well as old and new friends—and Maya returns, asking for forgiveness. This is a realistic, hopeful look at the “drama soup” of middle school.
VERDICT A strong purchase for middle grade graphic novel collections, especially where Emmie and Izzy are circulating well

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