Hey all, Dani here.
Today I bring you a Middle Grade review, because though I am 29 years old, I still enjoy reading MG books. Plus, this one was really good.
The author of Roller Girl is back with a graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.
Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind–she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.
Rating: 5 stars
Okay, so I have to start off this review by saying that this is a graphic novel, and I didn’t realize that when I bought it. I still would have bought it regardless, because I like to read comics and graphic novels, but it was a bit of a surprise to flip past the title page and see all the cute art and speech bubbles, etc.
The premise of the story intrigued me. We follow a girl who has been homeschooled her whole life, and her parents work at the Florida Renaissance Faire. Impy has been waiting for the day when she gets to become a squire and do more than just work in her mom’s shoppe. When the queen calls for her and asks what quest she will undertake to prove her bravery so that she may be a squire, Impy decides that it is time to give up homeschooling and try going to middle school.
There she feels a bit out of sorts, and I connected with her as she tried to navigate the school and the cafeteria, and as she tried to make friends. So many times this story made me smile or made me feel upset for certain decisions made by the characters. The pressure to fit in and the pressure to impress friends is one I understood. There is the struggle to keep up with all the schoolwork and the fashion trends and all of the schoolyard gossip. Plus bullying is definitely a factor in this story as well.
More than that is also the family element. Impy doesn’t just have her mom, dad, and little brother. A lot of the regular cast members of the Renaissance Faire are also like family, and I liked how they were around to give Impy advice and to help her with her education, and to scold her when she needed it, but they also supported her at the same time.
I would actually be totally fine if Victoria Jamieson decided to do a sequel to this book. Does Impy stick with middle school or go back to homeschooling? How have things changed after the end of the story?
Personally I thought this was a cute, wonderful, and somewhat geeky story and I devoured it in a little more than an hour. I’m really glad I picked it up, and I’ll definitely look for more reads I might enjoy by the author in the future.