Mr B's review
Mr B’s Christmas Catalogue Review 2018
An outdoorsy comic caper that sees schoolgirl Vera head to Russian summer camp (in her new American homeland) to crack the art of friendship building. A rollercoaster summer ensues, full of homesickness, new alliances, fireside storytelling, camping fiascos and cross-cultural confusion. This funny and sensitive graphic novel is based on the author’s own experiences, bookended by the actual letters that she and her forlorn younger brother wrote to their parents asking to be rescued from camp!
All Vera wants to do is fit in – but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range – Russian summer camp.
Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the ‘cool girl’ drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!
Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell, and Victoria Jamieson, Vera Brosgol’s Be Prepared is a funny and relatable middle-grade graphic novel about navigating your own culture, struggling to belong, and the value of true friendship.
“Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale’s Real Friends (2017), this will easily lodge a place in readers’ hearts, even as it has them rolling in the aisles.”–Booklist, starred
“The story, both culturally specific and universal, is a welcome addition to the growing canon of comics tales by talented women cartoonists (Raina Telgemeier, Tillie Walden, Zeina Abirached, Cece Bell, and many others) based on their own lives.”–Horn Book, starred
“The dialogue rings true, the pace is seamless, and the panel artwork, in woodsy browns and greens, conveys feelings with clean, assured lines. By turns sardonic, adorable, and noble, Vera is a beguiling hero who learns how to recognize who’s really on her side.”–Publishers Weekly, starred
“A gorgeous, emotional memoir worthy of any graphic novel collection.”–School Library Journal, starred
“Beautifully drawn, brutally funny, brilliantly honest. Vera is such a good cartoonist I almost can’t stand it.” –Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile
“While the culturally specific references will particularly resonate with kids of Russian heritage, the larger story will strike chords with any kid who has ever struggled to find a place to belong.”–Kirkus
“There’s no real villainy here, just the quotidian slings and arrows carelessly shot by kids more concerned with fun than empathy. That makes Vera a character with appeal to every tween who’s ever felt disappointed by peers–or by a fulfilled wish that didn’t live up to its bright, shiny promise.”–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
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