“I was a nervous kid. Self-conscious. Shy. Quiet… Most of the time.”
In this highly anticipated graphic novel, Raina is experiencing a lot of stress from multiple fronts. Her anxiety changes the way she perceives every day moments: eating, using the school restroom, spending time with friends, etc. Unfortunately, her anxiousness comes with physical symptoms such as IBS, which exacerbates the stress of getting through the school day- if she even is able to attend school. Slowly, Raina regains control of her runaway thoughts and emotional spikes with the assistance of a therapist.
Bullying behavior at school is on display here, and the fear of being targeted is very poignant. Though the bully plot is perhaps a bit too neatly wrapped up by the end, the concept of coping with anxiety and not curing anxiety is deftly handled.
Fans of Telgemeier’s Smile and Sisters will find a lot to enjoy here. Those in upper elementary school who appreciated the social constructs of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder and Linda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a Tree may also find this graphic novel worth a read.