Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Cover to Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Awkward, by Svetlana Chmakova, is a graphic novel that delves into the world of middle school and all of the ups and downs that come with it.

For Penelope, who also goes by Peppi, surviving school means following a set of very simple and very straightforward rules. Some of these rules, such as “seek out groups with similar interests and join them,” are not so hard to follow. As an artist, she found her niche within the art club. Some of her rules, particularly “don’t get noticed by the mean kids,” are turning out to be much more difficult to follow—even on the very first day!

On top of those everyday challenges, when the art and science clubs are pitted against each other for the chance at recognition during the annual club fair, all bets are off, as each team competes for its shot at a spot at the fair. There can only be one winner, but which club will be able to best the other?

Join Peppi as she and her friends face bullies and rivals, fumble through bad decisions and apologies, make friends and build new relationships, all while trying to pass their classes and meet their deadlines.

A diverse cast of characters and the variety of school-related topics addressed make this a great read for both students new to middle school and those who are already there. For readers looking for more books that take place in middle school, check out Brave, the next book in this series; Drama, by Raina Telgemeier; Wonder, by R.J. Palacio; and Public School Superhero, by James Patterson.