Rummanah Aasi
  The Amelia Rules series has been on several graphic novel recommendation lists for libraries and readers. The graphic novel series initially started as a self published piece and was later picked up by publishers as its popularity increased. Gownley announced last year that the series will come to an end. Like many readers, I was sad to hear the news but that only motivates me to read and complete the series.

Description: Meet Amelia Louise McBride. She's nine years old, a former New Yorker who's now living in a small town after her parents decided to get divorced, and dealing with everything from being the new kid in school to getting her first kiss. But you know what? She's got her mom and her aunt Tanner (who happens to be an ex-rock star) and her friends Reggie, Rhonda, and Pajamaman, and everything's going to be okay. Except, of course, when it isn't. In this first book of Amelia's adventures, Amelia and her friends take on bullies (and Santa!), barely survive gym class, and receive a disgustingly detailed explanation of the infamous Sneeze Barf.

Review: Amelia is going to be a third grader. She is also a child of recently divorced parents and has just moved from New York City to a small town, along with her mom and must stay with her mom's younger, hipper sister. This first volume of the series consists of five episodes from her first year, summer through Christmas, trying to figure out her new life with a new family situation and new friends. Gownley mixes realism, pathos, and humor remarkably well and conveys a lot with his Peanuts-ish illustrations.
  I started the Amelia Rules series out of order, which I never do but I was so excited to see this series at my local library that I just picked up whatever they had. I later realized that I was picking up the series midway through. Luckily, my mistake didn't cost my enjoyment of the series and I pretty much inferred what happened to Amelia's family and friends. In this first volume, Amelia deals with serious issues: divorce, moving, discovering new friends, and trying to make sense of her own world.
  I immediately loved all of the characters in this series. Amelia is your typical tween. She is moody, has great snarky lines, self absorbed but under all that bravado she has a good heart. The graphic novel is told from her perspective and almost like a confessional. Throughout the course of her first year at her new, small town she learns about her group of adorkable friends: Rhonda is her friend and sometimes arch-enemy, who has a massive third grade crush on Reggie, the superhero in the making. And then there is the silent but endearing Pajamaman.  
  Another huge plus for me is that the graphic novel series doesn't ignore the adult characters. Amelia's parents and her aunt have a substantial role in the series. They also have their own plot lines which aren't dumbed down for the younger reader. Charming and endearing, Amelia Rules is well worth the read for both girls and boys of all ages. The pace is energetic, the dialogue is humorous without being overly sweet, and Gownley has a keen sense of what life looks like from a kid's point of view. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: Smile by Raina Telegeimer, Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow, Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Description: Ten-year-old Amelia is getting used to living in a small town. Sure, it was hard to leave New York after her parents divorced. But now that she's got her friends, she's starting to feel like things just might be okay. That is, until her mom says they might be moving again--across town, to a new school district. Can things get any worse for Amelia? When Amelia meets her new friend Trish and learns about the terrible secret she's hiding, Amelia realizes that sometimes you just have to look adversity in the face and then give it a wedgie on its way out the door.

Review: Though constantly compared to the Peanuts comics, the Amelia Rules delivers more than punchlines and adorable illustrations. I think this series's greatest strength lines in its emotional content. Gownley's portrays situations with all the gravity they have to a tween. While from an adult's point of view it may be piddly, it is a huge deal to a kid. Grownley knows his audience and handles the problems of a younger reader with care.
   Superheroes is the third volume of the Amelia Rules series, and probably the most emotional by far. There are a wide range of emotions explored in this slim volume. Watching Amelia moving away from her friends, coping with a new friend moving away, a bike accident on a scary and dark road, and the projections of what happens to Amelia as she grows up are by turns heartbreaking and hopeful. Gownley balances the dark with the light in equal moments. After finishing the volume, you are comforted knowing that the characters have experienced something that you also went through and that yes, there will be times when life sucks and everything is dark and gloomy but it's only temporary.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: Smile by Raina Telegeimer, Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow, Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    It's nice you were able to pick up the first book in the middle of the series and not find yourself lost or confused, I love when stories just stand on their own no matter where in a series they fall! I've read two graphic novels now and I have to say, they're really growing on me. I love looking at all the illustrations:)

  2. Graphic novels for middle grade how nice. I bet the illustrations are wonderful and I love that the parents and adult role models have substantial parts and it is also nice to know you can pick this up anywhere in the series and not be lost!

  3. Oh these look so cute and also sound perfect for recs to some little cousins. Oh I bet they would like these!

  4. This sounds like a cute series but I know my son would say it's for girls. nine yr olds are tweeners? I thought my 12 yr old was. I think I'm lucky I don't have girls. I can imagine huge fights! Soon tweeners will be in kindergarten!


  5. I'm not sure how interested my brother is in graphic novels but I'll recommend this series to him as it sounds pretty good.

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