I like reader copies. You get to find a good story about friendship, fitting in and being yourself before the final book comes out. And you can decide if the characters are relatable, and for what ages (such as ages 10 and up for Curlfriends V01: New in Town and yes, it is relatable), and see that the illustrations are clever, quirky and fun.
You find out that Sharee Miller, while dealing with some serious themes (the fitting in, making friends when you think it is hard for you, dealing with a parent who was in the service and now home full time, a mother working when she had been there before) makes it lighthearted, a hopeful flow to things. And you can say that the style is reminiscent of Terri Libenson’s series, as well as the series by Maria Scrivan, Kayla Miller, Jerry Craft, Shannon Hale, Victoria Jamieson and Raina Telgemeier.
And then you have a chance to talk about said Curlfriends with like-minded people by saying things like Charlie wants to impress her new school classmates, but as the always new kid (her father was in the service so they moved a lot, and even when they were not together, they never stayed in one place long) who is “cute” and a “cartoon character clothes wearing” that isn’t easy to do. Not to mention school started weeks ago, so the cliches have been made and the friendships are solid. But she has a way to fit in, be cool, and impress: follow the fashion magazines rules, do not talk about comics, your favorite things, or wear your glasses. It does not matter that the three girls you meet on the first day of school seem to be super cool and as diverse as they come, fitting in is all that matters.
The four main characters are girls of color who are radically different. And like with Libenson’s series, I can see a book per girl so we can explore those differences. There are many dynamics (various siblings, single parents, working parents) and interests (working with hair, fashion, sports) so you can find yourself within the girls.