Today I’m reviewing middle grade graphic novel, which was magical and lovely to read. Usually, I don’t read middle grade novels, but I’ve been loving a few recently and I’m planning to keep reading more in this genre. So let’s get this blog tour started!
About the Book
Title: Just Pretend • By: Tori Sharp
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers • On: 18 .05.2021
Pace: Fast • Pages: 161 • Age: 8 and above
Standalone • Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel • Rating: 4
Song: Daydreamer by AURORA
Fans of Real Friends and Be Prepared will love this energetic, affecting graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce.
Tori has never lived in just one world.
Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.
Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.
Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.
I received an eARC of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group) courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m so delighted to be a part of this blog tour. Thanks to the author, publisher, and TBR and Beyond Tours for letting me be a part of this tour.
You can check the Tour Scehdule to know who all are taking part in this tour.
• Dreamer and Writer
Tori was an amazing writer. She wrote stories in her free time or during her classes. She’d be in her own wonderland, writing about lost princess and crystal necklaces. Her imagination was so vivid. She’d write and draw whatever she’d imagine and show it to her dad, her ultimate fan.
In the beginning, Tori used to write stories because she wanted to write a book but later it was an escape for her. Joint custody wasn’t making things any better for her and her siblings.
Reading and writing were not her only escape though. She had a best friend, Taylor who’d play games and write stories with her. They both would sit down to create worlds that were magical, exciting, and adventurous.
They couldn’t be in the same class but they’d exchange letters before lunch or the day began. It was so cute to see them run over to school early to make sure the other got their mail.
As much as friendship and other tropes were portrayed in the book, it also covered a very important topic. Over the course of 161 pages, this book spoke about how divorce affected Tori’s family.
Tori’s parents were divorced and shared a joint custody for their 3 kids. Tori did like going to her dad’s house in the weekend, but when he moved far away from their old house, she was finding it difficult to have some time for herself. In weekdays she was dragged to the mall, because she couldn’t be left alone at home and was asked to join her mother and sister, to drop her sister in her dance class. Tori would read in mall racks to kill the time. After a point, I could feel how difficult it was for her to juggle everything. She felt smothered and it was also affecting her friendship and writing.
I noticed that Tori’s stories were manifesting her problems but in a positive light. Her story was an echo of her life. The lost princess trope, getting her a friend, everything was a reflection of how she felt and what she need in real life.
All the illustrations here were colorful. Like the book cover, it was a mix of soft and bright colors. I also loved the fantasy art in the book.
The reason why I picked this book was because it was about a character who loved writing fantasy novels. Tori was passionate and driven. She wanted to be a published author someday and it was nice reading her story. It took her time to say how she felt to her parents and I liked that about her.
I never connected the dots that this was the author’s biography but I came to know only when I reached the end. This book wasn’t too hurried or cut short because of the length. I was happy with the length because it delivered a good story to spend my time with.
Just Pretend is a lovely story that is fantastic and touching at the same time. Definitely recommend it!
There is a fog spread out before us. We step into it, not knowing what tomorrow holds. We can be tempted to grope in the dark for a light switch or for the hand of someone to guide us. But the only way to move through this fog is to step.
TW // Divorced parent issues, Loneliness
Have you read this book or is it on your TBR? Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments.
“Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can”
— Louisa May Alcott