For you when you're feeling lonely and worried so you'll remember that you're not alone.
- Dedication from Shannon Hale
When I was little, I didn't worry about friends.
- First sentence
Wow. This book.
Shannon Hale did a great job of capturing the way it feels to be a kid and dealing with friendships and bullying. When I was reading this book, I was reminded of the feelings kids go through as friendships change and kids grow apart. Also how it feels to worry about "fitting in."
This book is the story of Shannon's childhood, sort of. She says she blended friends and events together and told the story basically as she remembers it. She also acknowledged that memory is faulty and things didn't happen exactly as they occur in the book.
The graphic novel format is perfect for this story. I loved being able to see the characters faces and understand exactly what they were feeling.
This is a great graphic novel for grades 3 and up. This is definitely one I will strongly recommend to the librarian I volunteer with. If you like graphic biographies or realistic fiction stories about growing up, you should definitely give this one a try.
I’m going to start this off by saying that I’ve never read any of the Squirrel Girl comics. I wouldn’t even know she existed if it weren’t for people’s reviews on Booklikes. I bought this because the excerpt I listened to sounded good and because I vaguely remembered Squirrel Girl seeming like a fun character when I read those comics reviews.
I should also mention that I took a lengthy break in the middle of listening to this audiobook - not because it was bad, but because I got into one of my “I don’t want to listen to audiobooks” moods. I think I slid back into it and remembered things pretty well, but if I get some details wrong that's probably why.
In this book, Doreen Green is 14 years old and has just moved from California to New Jersey. Going to a new school and making new friends isn’t easy, but Doreen happens to have the most powerful positive attitude on the planet. And also the powers of a squirrel, complete with the tail and teeth. All her life, Doreen’s parents have told her that she has to hide her tail and abilities - after all, they’re so awesome that everyone around her would instantly be jealous and sad that they weren’t like her. But Doreen can’t help herself and accidentally reveals what she can do while dealing with a local group of troublemakers.
Thankfully Doreen’s identity is safe. It seems that her tail has magical attention-diverting powers. While it’s out, she goes by the name she has always secretly called herself: Squirrel Girl. Unfortunately, even though Squirrel Girl isn’t technically a superhero (you can’t just call yourself a superhero, right?), it isn’t long before she finds herself dealing with what appears to be an actual supervillain.
This had two narrators: Abigail Revasch for the bits from Doreen’s POV and Tara Sands for the bits from Tippy Toe the squirrel’s POV. They were both good, but Abigail Revasch was the one who absolutely made this book shine for me. She somehow managed to be a perfect fit for both relentlessly positive Doreen and Doreen’s much more cynical friend Ana Sofia. She also did an amazing job on the squirrel talk.
For the most part, this was the literary equivalent of cotton candy: light, fluffy, and sweet. Doreen put a huge smile on my face, and I loved it anytime things went well for her. It was hard to imagine anything truly bad happening in a world where she existed, and the supervillain who had chosen her to be his archnemesis seemed particularly ridiculous, with his forced evil laughter and zucchini-based decoy. There were lots of funny lines and scenes. Probably my favorites were Doreen’s efforts at texting superheroes for help. She accidentally insulted Tony Stark multiple times (his ego could totally survive it, so I didn’t feel bad for laughing), and Winter Soldier was hilariously intense (I’m not familiar with him, although I’ve at least heard a little about the movie). The revelations about Rocket’s massive pranks were also good, and the bit with Thor was incredibly cute and sweet, even if I had a little trouble believing it.
Surprisingly, this book had some serious moments later on. The supervillain left me feeling conflicted. On the one hand, his history was pretty sad, but on the other hand he almost managed to kill a lot of squirrels and people (including a baby). Probably the most painful part of the book, though, was when
Squirrel Girl was publicly ridiculed. Even Doreen’s positive attitude couldn’t withstand that.
All in all, this was a really enjoyable audiobook. There were times when I could definitely tell that I wasn’t the target audience (too old - I’m pretty sure this was aimed at Middle Grade readers), and the baby love got to be a bit much occasionally (Doreen and her squirrel friends adored babies), but I had a lot of fun anyway.
I debated giving this 4 stars but decided that my love of Doreen and Abigail Revasch's narration pushed this up to 4.5 stars. I could definitely imagine relistening to this if I needed a pick-me-up.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
Jane is obsessed with P&P. Okay, she's really into Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. When her aunt dies, she is gifted with an all expenses paid trip to England to stay at Pembrook Park. Pembrook Park is a place where one can go and pretend to live in regency England. PP employs actors, so who knows when something is real or genuine.
So, interesting premise, but fell flat for me. But I will say I liked the movie better (I know, sacrilege!) I didn't like Jane. She was flat, pathetic, and I really (really!) wanted to slap her. She did get better as the book progresses, but not enough for me. I didn't like how she hid her P&P DVDs. Luckily, they are on the shelf by the end of the book. I own them too!
I hated this quote: "You know, that book did Austen herself no good- died a spinster." Yep, cause there is nothing worse than a woman who is SINGLE! It doesn't matter how accomplished you are, etc, the "S" word is what is important. Whatever.
#rippedbodicebingo - Austen retelling