Reviewed September 13, 2017.
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017. 248 pages.
This graphic novel is every bit as delightful as the author’s earlier one, Roller Girl. In fact, I liked it a little better, since I’m more familiar with Renaissance faires than I am with roller derby.
Imogene and her family have always been involved in the Florida Renaissance Faire all her life. Her father is an actor who plays the evil lord of the dragons, and her mother runs a craft store. Impy has always been homeschooled at the faire, along with her annoying little brother – but now she’s ready to go to middle school.
The middle school part of the story doesn’t have any big surprises – making friends and figuring out how to fit in, tough teachers, and eventually Impy has to face some not-very-nice things she does to please the so-called friends. All that makes a delightful parallel to the Renaissance faire, where Impy has a more responsible role this year as an actual cast member – her father’s squire.
Of course, the two worlds intersect when the leader of the mean girls has her birthday party at the Renaissance faire.
I’ve read other books about homeschooled kids adjusting to school, but this one’s a graphic novel, so it’s extra colorful (literally), and all the Renaissance faire parts make for great images.
And make no mistake about it, starting middle school is a whole lot like going on a quest and fighting dragons.