Sunday, October 21, 2012

Staff Picks

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Smile by Raina Telgemeier is an Eisner and Cybils award winner as well as a 2011 pick for YALSA’s great graphic novels for teens.  The full color graphics will have you laughing, wincing, and smiling as you follow Raina on her orthodontia adventures.

Raina enjoys hanging out with friends, having sleepovers, and generally being a teen.  Then she finds out she is getting braces to fix her teeth.  One night just before the braces go on, when Raina and her friends are coming home from a Girl Scout meeting, Raina trips and falls hard on the concrete sidewalk.  When she gets up there is blood everywhere, and her two front teeth have been knocked out.  Her parents rush Raina to the dentist, where he puts a dental cast on her front teeth so they will heal.

When Raina goes back to school, everyone asks all kinds of weird questions and makes fun of her tooth cast because it gives her a lisp.  Later, when she goes back to the dentist, they find out the cast didn’t help--she looks like a reverse vampire because her two front teeth are much higher than her other teeth.  By the time Raina has new fake teeth implanted, and gets
braces and headgear, 6th grade is almost over.

7th grade brings Sammy, a cute boy, into Raina’s life.  He is one whole year younger, but has braces, too.  That fall there is a horrible earthquake near her house and all the power is knocked out.  Raina decides that braces are nothing compared to an earthquake.  Near Thanksgiving, the orthodontist tells Raina that her dental surgery did not work and she is going  to lose her new front teeth.  The orthodontist plans to move her other teeth together to fill in the gap,  but it will take a few years.  Raina wonders how she will play the flute or eat at school, and what people will say.  They take her braces off, pull her front teeth, and give her new ones on a retainer.  The only people who really say mean things are the girls who have been her friends for years.  She misses a Valentine’s dance and hurts Sammy’s feelings, and they are not friends anymore.  Then the braces go back on again.  Raina decides braces are like her life: they hurt, you get used to them, then they hurt some more. 

8th grade brings physical changes to Raina and her girl friends.  Some of them even sort of have boyfriends.  But Raina is only interested in a boy who does not really notice her.  That summer Raina gets new bonded front teeth and that fall, a fresh start at a new high school. When she has lunch with her friends, she realizes they spent the summer doing things together without her.  Then Raina’s new orthodontia fun includes rubber bands that pull her jaws in line.  One day her old friends embarrass Raina by pantsing her in front of the entire school.  She is furious, but luckily she has leggings on under her skirt.

To find out if Raina ever gets her braces off or gets even with her friends, take home a copy of Smile by Raina Telgemeier today.  

Denise Leeson
Youth Services Specialist