Fans of Real Friends and Be Prepared will love this energetic, affecting graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce. Tori has never lived in just one world.
Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.
Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.
Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.
I was really enamored with this graphic memoir from the start because I was able to identify with the way Tori coped with what was happening in her life. While I didn’t have the same experiences as her when I was her age, writing and reading were my escapes when I dealt with my own issues, so it was something that really resonated with me. That 7-9th grade range is a difficult time for many kids, especially when you have so many different issues going on. I really enjoyed the mix of seeing Tori’s life and day to day mixed with her stories when she escaped into them. The story lines in some ways had parallels as Tori navigated her real life and attempted to survive and juggle everything going on. The art style was bright and vivid and perfectly suited both the real life and the fantasy.
Tori Sharp is a Seattle-based author-illustrator and swing and blues dancer with a BFA in sequential art from SCAD. You can find her online at http://www.noveltori.com and on Twitter @noveltori. Just Pretend is her debut graphic novel.
I also had fun putting together a playlist on Spotify with some songs that I felt fit some of the feelings I had when reading this book. I’ve included it below!
Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour too! Happy reading!