Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Based on personal experiences, this graphic novel will speak to those of us who are teenagers and those who have survived that age.  Raina just wants to be a normal kid.  But one evening, she falls when running, tripping and damaging her front teeth.  This sets her on a journey of braces, dental surgery, and headgear.  On top of her dental issues, Raina also deals with the normal teen issues of friends, bullies, and crushes on boys.  Readers get to watch Raina grow up from a sixth grader to a high school student as she learns about acceptance, self-esteem, and the importance of good dentists.

Written with lots of humor, this book has a feel for what makes being a teenager both funny and painful.  Telgemeier’s writing is refreshing and fast paced.  Her art is friendly and silly.  With her art and writing combined, she has created a book with a fresh feel that has universal appeal.  While speaking of her own issues with teeth, she speaks to all of our strange teen situations and what each of us dealt with or is dealing with. 

A fresh, funny look at being a teen, this book will easily find a readership and be eagerly passed from person to person.  Appropriate for ages 11-14.

Reviewed from Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) where most of the illustrations were not yet in color.