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Smile by Raina Telgemeier
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9321049,353 (4.19)17
Member:makenna1205
Title:Smile
Authors:Raina Telgemeier
Info:GRAPHIX (2010), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:checked out

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Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Recently added byHCKLibrary, kriselarson, valerieweak, ronchronchronch, JKPL, vivians, private library, talk2jessi
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Raina Telgemeier’s years through middle and high school are told through this entertaining memoir. She does so in the form of a graphic novel, which really helps keep the attention of readers, keeping them interested and entertained all while learning a true story. Despite the unconventional style for biographies, Telgemeier makes very good use of plot, setting, and characters in her memoir.

The plot of Smile is a pretty simple one that follows one young girl's experience with braces. After losing her two front teeth in an accident, Raina has to get false teeth and braces, all while grinning and bearing through the pain and awkwardness of her situation throughout school. The events of this story are based on actual facts as this was something that Telgemeier had to go through in real life. She must remember her entire years of middle and high school just because of this, as one does not forget the physical torments of braces, or even the sociological torment that they can cause. The reader gets a look at the life of a school girl with braces and allows them to understand the trials and emotions Raina is going through.

Smile takes place in the city of San Francisco, focusing on three main areas: Raina’s home, her schools, and the orthodontist’s office. Each does a very good job of developing Raina’s character as she deals with her braces. Her schools are the only places where she does not feel comfortable and worries the most. It is true that the scenes at the orthodontist’s office can be painful, uncomfortable, and scary for Raina, but that setting is friendlier than at school. Dr. Dragoni, Raina’s orthodontist, is very nice and does everything he can to help Raina. No trip to the doctor is ever really fun, but it does help people out. Raina’s home is her refuge, where she can relax. It is only at school where Raina faces public humiliation, and must make difficult decisions about boys, classes, and even her own friends, all while fretting over her brace face. The setting is very crucial to the story and the development of Raina. The school alone serves as a crucible in which Raina is developed by different emotions and events.

Not a lot of detail is given to show just what years this story takes place in, but there are some big clues that come in the form of entertainment. Raina frequently plays Nintendo games and references several that were released around her childhood such as Super Mario Bros 2, and DuckTales. These are shown both visually and just in name. There is also a scene where the family goes to see the new release of the Walt Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid, which places Raina at the age of twelve in 1989.

The character of Raina is a very believable one that readers can easily relate to. Many people have had to deal with braces or at the very least trips to the dentist. Just about everyone should know what Raina is dealing with. Even without the braces, Raina faces many trials at school which help her grow as a character. Again, the school setting is one everyone can relate to. The other characters are also very believable, especially the ones found at school. Raina deals with two different boys she has feelings for. She also has friends that grow and develop along with her that are realistic. Her friends tease her constantly throughout the book, which is something many children do to each other, friendly or not. The readers even get to see all these same characters age throughout their school years, taking some time to focus a bit on puberty and what that can entail.

Telgemeier does not glorify herself one bit. In fact, it is actually quite the opposite. She frequently calls her cartoon version of her younger self nerdy and awkward, all of which are not helped out with her braces. This portrayal, however, is not too critical of Raina. At many points throughout the book, Raina must change in some way or make big decisions. Readers get to see just about all of her emotions as well as seeing the character in all sorts of situations.

The plot is set up fairly quickly and the pace of this novel works. It doesn’t go into so much detail that it distracts the reader from the focus. The pictures matched up with the topics that were being discussed throughout the entire story. This is an added incentive to keep students interested in the story itself without being totally distracted.

The major theme is self-exploration with typical coming-of-age subplots that revolve around growing up and trying to fit in. At first, Raina was mostly trying to fit in with her peers, and tried to change herself in order to do so. Even adult readers can relate to this as many did the same thing in middle school. However as time went on, Raina became more comfortable with who she was and stood up for what she thought was right, and that’s a good lesson kids nowadays need to keep in mind.
  rdg301library | Jul 2, 2014 |
I like this book because it is about a girl that loses her two front teeth and it tells the story of her life trying to get her teeth back. - Aoife ( )
  JSIS-Reviews | Jun 5, 2014 |
I never had to have braces so I did not completely understand all that Raina had to go through, but even so I related to the main characters struggles. Raina Telegemeier did a great job capturing the junior high/highschool period of insecurities and growing up that everyone goes through. I highly recommend this book ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 12, 2014 |
A coming of age story with all the ups and downs of entering junior high school while navigating the murky waters of love and friendship. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 9, 2014 |
Who knew that such a silly accident could change a young fourth grader's habits forever? Surely that's not what Raina Telgemeier was thinking as her exhausted yet panicy mother, rushing her to the dentist in the middle of the night.

I like how the author based this graphic novel off of her own experiences. This makes it much more for the readers to ( )
  SydneyW.G3 | Mar 21, 2014 |
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From sixth grade through tenth, Raina copes with a variety of dental problems that affect her appearance and how she feels about herself.
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From sixth grade through tenth, Raina copes with a variety of dental problems that affect her appearance and how she feels about herself.

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