Cover Image: Just Pretend

Just Pretend

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Member Reviews

This was a good graphic novel. I think fans of Raina Telgemeier will like this one. I think it's suited for middle grade kids.
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This is a graphic memoir depicting the author'ss middle school year before high school. It describes how hard it was for her parents to be divorced, her anxiety, her daydreaming that had her getting called out in class, and the ups and downs of her friendships.
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Overall I liked this book. It is similar to a lot of currently popular titles on the market. The art is reminiscent to Raina Telgamier which will definitely draw the reader to the book. I liked the overall messages that the book gave about the importance of friendship and communication. I also like to see the main character be so passionate about something like writing. 
I struggled with how much this book tried to covered. There was issues with bullying, divorce, strict parents, classes, friends, moving, absent parents, anger issues etc. This made the book feel scattered and like there was no real resolution. I wish the author had focused on only one or two larger problems the book would have been felt more complete. Another issue I had was that I could never really get my barring on the time pacing and  it seemed to cover many years, which is a bit jarring. It also seems to jumps months between panels.
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A fun graphic novel for fans of Smile, Roller Girls, or Real Friends. This book will easily find readers.
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This was really sweet. It's a coming-of-age graphic novel, though it comes closer to slice of life. Tori is a middle grader with a wonderfully active imagination, divorced parents, a dickhead older brother and a really cool almost stepmother. She has to navigate the world of school, friendships, and family, all while keeping her head above water.

There is something lacking with this story, we never truly go too deep into any specific part. There are family dramas and friendships squabbles, but we view them more as 30 minute sitcom episodes than an overarching theme. There's not really closure, and that can be frustrating.

There is absolutely something to enjoy here, and many middle graders will see themselves in the characters, especially anyone who loves making up their own stories in their heads.
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While I did enjoy this graphic novel it was all over the place. There wasn’t any separation like chapters and it would just abruptly go from being at the mall to at school the next day. I didn’t really care for that aspect at all. It really would take me out of the story. The artwork was nicely done and like I said earlier the story was enjoyable. Overall, I think if you’re looking for a graphic novel about growing up there are better ones out there.
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Just Pretend gives the reader a glimpse into the challenges of middle school life with the added factor of divorced parents.  

Sharp does a nice job overall and the art is lovely.  However, it does jump around quite a bit and may be challenging for young readers to keep up with the swift changes between scenes.
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I did not know this was a memoir at first so I was thrown off by the jumps in times and places. However I felt it was a great slice of life book about middle school and all the changes that come with growing up. I feel a lot of kids will find something they can relate to in this, whether its divorced parents or changing friendships.
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Fun read in the vein of Telgemeier and Hale. Perfect for tweens who can't get enough of Dork Diaries and Sisters.
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Just Pretend is a perfect read-alike for fans of Raina Telgemeier's work! I've said that about other graphic novels, but this is truly the most similar. That's not to say it's a copy, because it's absolutely not! Sharp has just really nailed that "feel" of a Raina Telgemeier work. I'm pretty sure I liked this way more than any of Telgemeier's graphic novels. The art is really clean and the colors are fairly muted, similar to those in Svetlana Chmakova's Berrybrook Middle School series. I love that none of the girls in the book thought playing and creating with stories was "too young" for them. Too often, the problem within a middle grade book is that some girls start acting more "mature" than others, but that was not the case here. I love seeing kids act like kids!
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Travel through middle school with Tori as she recants her memories of 7th and 8th grade.  This is a character driven story of tough points inlife.  Sometimes it a moody teenage brother named Ryan or his twin sister the dancing phenom.  Sometimes it’s mom and dad fighting, and dad forgetting his weekly dinners.  This story is mostly a set of vignettes, broken up by pieces of the book written within the pages of this book.  To be honest, I kept waiting for something to happen between these pages, but this isn’t the type of story where things happen and the ending is wrapped up and presented in a bow.  In fact I thought the ending was a bit abrupt.  But then again it mirrors life.  I did really like how the author talked at the end about how remembering things later in life gives you a new perspective, and that is what this feels like… an adult remembering standout moments in their childhood for better and for worse.
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This graphic novel memoir tells the story of Tori Sharp's most formative years-changing friendships, her parents' divorce, inspiration to become an author, and more.

The way in which this memoir is told is jumbled little short memories/stories that jump rather abruptly. The transition from one story/point in Tori's life to another were very difficult to follow. Also, if I hadn't known this was a memoir I may have never guessed, as all of the characters feel very immature and flat for their ages. I feel a lot of younger readers will get confused by the timeline/jumpiness of the stories, though graphic novel fans may still be interested.
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There was little plot and the transitions were sometimes jarring. I really wish the episode in which her brother threw her across the room had been resolved.
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Just Pretend is the story of the author herself, and it feels weird to rate someone’s own story. Tori’s parents have divorced and live away from each other, and Tori finds herself going to and fro to be with the both of them. However, when this happens, she also feels neglected when her parents are busy with their own lives. Tori finds herself dissociating from the real world and going into her own fairytale fictional world, which aspires her to write about it and show the world her story someday.

The issue with Middle Graders is that they start to be well on their own and yet their loved ones still deem them a child. This was well-captured in the novel which showed that Tori’s mother never let her be in the home by herself and always dragged her with herself whenever she went out. Tori also plans on collaborating with her best friend on a book they want to write together, but her friend quitting it all at the last moment because of her stepmother is also an example of this.

The illustrations in the book were so good and captured the expressions and feelings of the main character perfectly. The author also highlighted that friendships aren’t always very simple and one has to make efforts for them to last. They organised exciting things like the secret gifting friend thing, where you would gift a friend something anonymously and they’d have to guess who gifted them, and I liked the notion of it a lot. Tori’s story is one worth telling the whole world and I think everyone can learn some thing or the other from it.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity. 

This is my first time reviewing a graphic novel, so I'll try to keep it short and sweet. First of all, this book was full of low and high moments, and not in a bad way, but a way a memoir would be. Since it is based on this author's experiences, we get to see how life was ever-changing, how sometimes things were at their best and how other times at their lowest. And that is one of the things that made me enjoy it the most because it wasn't a "picture perfect" life we get sometimes in books and is a way to teach kids to keep dreaming and being true to themselves no matter what comes around. 

Another thing I liked about the book was the art and how it tangled fantasy with reality. How the dreams of this girl were part of her day-to-day life no matter what went around her, how she kept dreaming even when people didn't pay the attention her work and dreams deserved. Is a really beautiful story of growth, changes, family, friends, and keep your dreams alive. A story not only kids would enjoy, but parents too because it can teach every single member of the family no matter the age. 

I don't know what else to say about this book without spoiling it but if it means something to you I gave this book 4 stars, just because I got confused at some points.
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Just Pretend is a promising new graphic memoir highlighting the challenges kids can face when there is parental bickering, especially between divorced co-parents. It also shows the healing power of friendship and storytelling. Although, this memoir is more slice-of-life and lacking a satisfying resolution, kids who enjoy writing will be drawn to this story and all readers will enjoy the illustration style.
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I enjoyed reading this graphic novel. It covered the themes of family, grief, divorce, change, and separation. The main character Tori, uses her imagination to create a fantasy story. The story ends up imitating her life. The story she creates helps her deal with joining custody and the trial and tribulations of friendship. I love the relationship between Tori and her best friend Tayl. Although they may fight and have arguments from time to time, they always lean and support one another. The stories that Tori created manifested her problems and helped her solve many of them, including losing and finding friends. 

I loved the illustrations in the graphic novel and how the book places the story within Tori’s life. 

I recommend this book as it speaks about divorce and the importance of friendship and support.
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I enjoyed the artwork. However, I had a hard time figuring out who was who in her family and where she was (and where her father was currently living.) It needed transitions too - like chapters or something. I would turn the page and suddenly it would be something completely different. (I had an advance copy from NetGalley, so maybe that was a part of my problem.)
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This seemed like a very interesting read to me and I actually enjoyed it very very much. It was such a beautiful and heart-touching story. I adored every moment in this book. 

Tori is so creative and fun character. Ideas brimming each moment make it so beautiful.

It was really a great read!
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Seventh grader Tori lives with her mom and her older twin siblings, and she visits her dad on weekends. Her parents treat her as a little kid, even though she’s growing up. At school, she struggles with making new friends and keeping her old ones. When they begin to bond over their love of writing or their friendships, something comes between them. Tori continues to write her own story while she tries to cope with the rest of her life.

In this graphic novel, Tori has to deal with many issues of growing up. She had problems at home, with juggling the two homes of her parents, as well as older siblings who liked to tease and bully her. She also had problems at school with her friends and her school work. The middle school years are filled with emotional relationships. Between her family and friends, Tori had to figure out many relationship dynamics that come with growing up.

I could relate to Tori in this story. Tori tried to write a story with her best friend, and I did the same thing in middle school. My friends got bored with writing after a while, like Tori’s did, but writing is still my passion. I could relate to the way Tori got lost in her fantasy world. I think other young artists will be able to relate to Tori as well.

Just Pretend is a great middle grade graphic novel!

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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