Victoria Jamieson’s latest graphic novel is an interesting take on the popular tween book subgenre of “middle school is a new and scary place.” The main character, Imogene, is not only starting sixth grade at a new middle school, but she’s also been homeschooled all the years before. On top of that, her family participates annually in the local Renaissance Faire, and Imogene is more familiar with the duties of a squire than that of a classmate.
The year seems to start well when Imogene makes friends with the “popular” girls. They even like her funky boots—until they notice that she wears them every day. Imogene struggles to keep up with the trends in school while remaining true to her faire family and values. When she discovers that the decidedly unpopular Anita also loves coming to the Faire and dressing up, Imogene’s loyalty is truly tested. After several missteps—most of which alienate everyone, including her family—Imogene finds her feet and sets her course.
Jamieson’s Roller Girl was awarded a Newbery Honor, and All’s Faire in Middle School may be another contender. Jamieson can weave a compelling story, and her artwork is clean and accessible. This is an excellent addition to any middle grade graphic novel collection.
Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a pre-K through eighth-level Catholic school.