MMGM (4/8/2019): Smile by Raina Telgemeier (plus giveaway winners!)

First off, I have the winners of the Spring Signed Book Giveaway! The winner of the boxed set of Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy, both by Terri Libenson, is...

Ben L.!

The winner of Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (author of the book I am reviewing today) is...


The winner of Spy School by Stuart Gibbs is...


Finally, the winner of both Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and Dumplin' by Julie Murphy is...


Congratulations to all of the winners! Your books are in the mail. Unfortunately, I could not give books to everyone who entered, BUT... I decided to give a $15 Barnes & Noble eGift card to one lucky entrant! That entrant is...


Congratulations! Now for today's review. For MMGM, I am recommending Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

          It's hard to believe how popular Smile still is, even though it was published over nine years ago (in February of 2010)! Not only did Smile shoot its author Raina Telgemeier to fame (see my post about seeing her at NTTBF here and my ancient review of her newer book Ghosts here), but it essentially created the entire genre of slice-of-life graphic novels (which is now booming, as seen here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)! If you've somehow avoided reading Smile for nine years, you might have wondered if it actually holds up to the endless hype. The answer is a resounding yes!
          Smile is a memoir of Telgemeier's experiences in middle and early high school. Besides dealing with crushes and mean friends, Raina also experiences an unfortunate incident that damages her front teeth. Over the course of the novel, she deals with braces, fake teeth, and countless procedures and doctors' appointments (as well as the self-consciousness that comes with having damaged front teeth in middle school). Although most people may not have had the exact same dental issues that Raina has in the book, virtually everyone can relate to both endless doctor trips for an ailment and self-consciousness about having an ailment that no one else has (or at least, that you think no one else has). And yet, very few books actually deal with these all-too-common feelings. Telgemeier does a great job of making this childhood issue into something understandable, relatable, and even gripping for any reader. In addition, Telgemeier's depiction of her experiences in middle school are definitely all too familiar to readers who are/were in middle school, who will appreciate knowing that they weren't the only ones who were stressed.
          Smile benefits from an excellent narrator and main character, Raina, as well. Raina has a personality and interests that make her feel like a real person (which, of course, she is!). She makes mistakes during the book, but she also learns from them and grows throughout the story. Another thing that I love about Smile is how well-developed its setting is. Telgemeier includes all sorts of details that show readers what it was like to grow up when and where she did (such as getting to see The Little Mermaid when it was released or experiencing the 1989 San Francisco earthquake). Finally, Telgemeier's artwork is absolutely excellent. Just as in her newer graphic novels, the art in Smile is imbued with all sorts of emotions and feelings that instantly convey the mood of the story. If you have never read Smile, I implore you to pick up a copy. It is one of the few books that will leave a lifelong impact on any reader, just as it has on the massive numbers of children and adults that have read it over the years.

Update (1/2/2021): My rating is: Stunning!


  1. Congratulations to all your winners. So many! I loved this book as well.

  2. I've never read a graphic novel. But since you and Rosi loved this one so much, I will see if my library has it. Thanks.

  3. I just had a young friend get braces and had forgotten about this book. I will be sure to get him a copy, but only after I read it again myself! Thanks for the review.

  4. I haven't read her book and probably should. Kids are so mean, but a lot of kids wear them now. In fact I just finished orthodontia work. So different than when I had it in high school. I should read this one. Our great granddaughter is wearing them now.

  5. Thanks so much for the review. And thank you for your give a ways - I received my book today!

  6. Wow! Look at all those winners. Congrats to everyone!

    I have heard great things about Smile- but I haven't read it yet. I do love graphic novels, so I will have to check this out soon. Thanks for sharing!


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