Terri Libenson has several middle-school novels in her Emmie & Friends series. First we saw Invisible Emmie, then Positively Izzy and now we have Just Jamie. And while each book ties into the others, each is a standalone story as well. Done in a slightly nontraditional graphic novel format, Libenson creates a slightly idealistic (things are wrapped up nicely, certain convenient events happen to move the story along) but also a realistic view of Middle School.
Jamie has her group of friends. Three of them have known each other for years. Then a new girl comes along, and they let her join them. Or did she let them join her? Either way, it does not matter. Jamie and her friends are tight, and nothing will change that. Or will it? In true “mean girl” world, things change, and Jamie thinks not for the better. Or have they? The ins and outs of Jamie’s journey grace the pages as she learns what friendship is all about.
The artist of The Pajama Diaries also does her signature style of art for these books (ages high 9 to young 14). And while the books are mostly illustrations, there is enough text to go around as well as both blend into each other seamlessly.
If you have a fan of Raina Telgemeier, Jennifer L. Holm or Shannon Hale’s Real Friends and Best Friends, you should give Libenson a shot. And while both deal with similar themes, they are different enough to have each story a fresh new journey.