My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017
Publisher: Yen Press
Point of View: Masculine
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Bullying
The charming world of Berrybrook Middle School gets a little bigger in this highly anticipated follow up to Svetlana Chmakova’s award winning Awkward with a story about a boy who learns his own way of being Brave!
This is a companion book to AWKWARD by the same author. It really is not a sequel, because none of the previous main characters remain main characters. In fact, Jensen, the hero, appeared only briefly in AWKWARD. Plus the story is not the same.
I have to say, I did like this, but not as much as the previous (fully-illustrated) manga. Jensen is very quirky, what with his obsession with sunburns and making everyone understand how dangerous they are. And he wants to become an astronaut, but he sucks at math. He’s real entertaining.
BUT I did not feel as though there was a story. It’s more like a collection of events that happen, like a slice of life manga, but with tremendous repetition.
The themes and characters themselves are well done though. Bullying should never be considered trivial and the author shows that. Even your friends can hurt you without realizing it.
Jensen acts as though he does not mind having his friends make fun of him, but deep inside he does. And although he avoids his two main bullies as much as he can, is that really a solution? Should running away be one’s way of dealing with such people?
I actually did not expect this to be so… serious. AWKWARD had important topics also, but overall it was fairly light, whereas this story is less rainbows and sunshine. In a way it makes it more realistic. You just have to know what you’re signing for, especially if you’ve read and adored AWKWARD.
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