Cover Image: Jawbreaker


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Member Reviews

The cover makes it look like it'll be a graphic novel and I think it would have been great as such considering it's 320 pages and could have been shorter. 

Max as a character dealing with a medical situation in her mouth leads to horrific bullying and plenty of fear about the unknown of her orthodontic treatment. Based on Wyman's personal history, it's not specifically her story but plenty is borrowed from it and the undercurrent of bullying that balloons bigger than nasty remarks but ends up embarrassing her in front of the whole school during a project presentation leads to some comeuppance for all. 

This is in addition to some struggles at home including her parents fighting and the eventual realization that dad is an alcoholic and needs treatment. Solidly middle grade but a little long-winded. And I knew one person I wanted to recommend it to while I was reading it.
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This book was a hard book for me to read, but it was an incredibly worthwhile read. It was hard because I have a difficult time with books where the bullying is so awful it's almost unbearable. Now I know that severe bullying exists and I have two kids of my own so I'm not naive, but the bullying in this book was extremely toxic and I felt so terrible for the main character, Max. It gave off similar feelings as Starfish, especially since the bullying and toxic behavior was from Max's own family.

So it was a tough read. But I persevered, and I'm glad I did, because it ended up being a very rewarding story.

Max is in the 7th grade and has jaw problems. Her jaw alignment is so severe, not only does she need braces, she also needs to wear a headgear (aka jawbreaker) and may need surgery in the future. Max is picked on by several bullies including her own sister who is one year younger and trying to get in with the popular crowd at school. And when I mean picked on, it is brutal what she endures. This is not harmless teasing. It is severe, traumatic, hateful, terrible acts intended to bring her pain and make her experience in middle school almost unbearable. 

To make matters worse, things are really bad at home for Max. Her parents are barely getting by paycheck to paycheck, they are fighting with each other all the time, and both have picked up addictions. It was very hard to get through these as I felt so much for Max.

Max finds solace with her best friend and her journalism club friends. She even finds a sympathetic supporter in her orthodontist! The story really starts to shine when Max addresses the topic of bullying heads on through her own reporting and journalism. I cheered for Max as she stood up for not only herself but for all the kids at her school also being bullied.

A tough book to read as it does not hold back, but a very important one, especially for the 15% of children who need braces. Definitely recommend but be mindful if your readers are sensitive.
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I loved Max's story.  It definitely brought back my own middle school experience with head gear and braces -- and, like Max, I was lucky enough not to need to wear it to school.  That would have been mortifying!  Students will all connect with the personal challenges Max faces with her appearance, but also with her relationship with her sister and her parents' troubles, too.
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Having recently had braces as an adult, I totally connected with Max Plink, the main character, of Jawbreaker by Christina Wyman.  Max has a difficult life.  She has a Class 11 Malocclusion which means not only does she have to wear braces, but she also needs to wear headgear about 8 hours a day.  She nicknames the headgear "Jawbreaker".  In addition, her relationship with her sister has deteriorated to the point where her sister relentlessly bullies her and her parents are constantly fighting and Max suspects the cost of her braces is a contributing factor in their fights.  

She wants to enter a journalism competition and meet her journalism hero, but to do that she has to produce a video and let the whole city see her often ridiculed face.   Can she do it?  Read the book to find out!

Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC of this title!
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Thanks to NetGalley & Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, wow, what a fantastic book! The characters were all three-dimensional and extremely fleshed out and felt like ordinary people I'd run into on the street. Everyone's motivations made sense. It's a tough introduction since you're thrown into the middle of Max's issues but it starts building up from there. Her parents have dark sides to them but nothing too depressing and in the end, they're shown as flawed parents but are willing to be better. 

Max is a great protagonist as well, very flawed but her actions always made sense. Her friends could've been fleshed out more but honestly, there was a lot going on in this book I'm glad they weren't a main focus. 

My favorite part is how the sisters bullied each other and the book didn't demonize them for it--they were going through tough times, economically and emotionally. The two bullies at school didn't magically get redeemed which was nice, but the sisters had to work through their own bullying thanks to the administration & the parents intervening. I'm sick of bullies always getting redeemed and sometimes people are just jerks, so I like that the sister got redeemed but the other two bullies didn't and were still jerks to the bitter end. 

Fair warning this is NOT a graphic novel like the cover suggests. Other than the teeth problems, I can't say this shares many similarities with Smile but it's still a really good read. Highly recommend!
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Max has a lot going on - due to a severe dental issue, she is bullied at school, including by her sister. At home, her parents are having issues. A heartbreaking, beautiful and honest story.
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Thank you to #NetGalley, Christina Wyman and the publisher of the book for the eARC copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Max is in seventh grade and life is hard! Her parents are fighting, her sister is very cruel to her and she has to start wearing headgear (Jawbreaker) to hopefully avoid having to have facial surgery. On top of that, the journalism competition that Max has been excited about entering forever now requires a video entry, not just a written one. Max is worried about showing her face on camera to all of New York. Will Max be able to put her worries and family conflicts aside and win the competition she has been dreaming about?

A much needed middle grade novel about family conflicts, confidence and bullying. While Max is bullied in school as well, she is also bullied by her sister at home. I also liked how the parents portrayed real issues that students may see in their families. I look forward to recommending this book to others and to older students!
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This was a very realistic representation of the cruelty that kids can show towards others, the pain and discomfort from having to wear braces, and the challenges that families face behind closed doors. The author brought authentic characters to life with realistic situations. I just loved this! Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to read this advance copy.
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I absolutely LOVED this book! I work in a middle school and I could relate to this story on so many levels! Bullying happens at every school but it can be controlled. Our school has a tight grasp on it and the teachers and principals do an outstanding job at staying on top of it. This book also shows how strained the family dynamic can become when a parent has a drinking problem. It doesn't affect just the person drinking, but the entire family. This book does an outstanding job of showing how it causes problems between the two parents, the parent, and the kids, and finally between the two kids. Maxi and Alexis do some terrible things to each other and I think some of this is caused by the tension in the family home. I will certainly recommend this book to ALL my middle school students because it has a very powerful message!
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Max is dealing with a lot. She has major teeth issues, she and her sister aren't getting along and her parents are always fighting. 
This is a deep middle grade story with a lot of real life issues. 
Max just wants something to go right for her but with her teeth issues and her family issues and the journalist contest having to have a video this year, it doesn't seem like anything will go her way. We see Max and her family try to get through all the issues going on. 
This one was long and hard to read at times. But is a good middle grade book that deals with real life issues. 

Thanks NetGalley for this ARC.
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Being different is both the goal and bane of middle school existence. Sibling rivalry is another item on that list. Max Plink is at the intersection of all of these things. Max's jaw issues not only cause her to stand out to be ridiculed, but her younger sister is at the helm of the crew who makes her life quite miserable. Her family is living on the edge of financial solvency and the cost of the orthodontics and procedures for Max cause her family to miss out on many things others take for granted. Through the story, we watch various members of Max's family unpeel layers that allow the reader to understand, if not appreciate their actions. This was a very realistic story and I'm sure many of my middle schoolers will relate.
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A highly readable MG novel that is, on it's surface, about the experience of living with (and trying to fix!) malocclusion but does deep and impressive dives into a number of topics including poverty, alcoholism, (genuinely horrific) bullying, fitting in, abuse, pursuing dreams, medically-influenced sibling resentment, and coming of age. Topics covered are dealt with in an age approprite way that is at times stunningly adroit
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Wyman presents an autobiographical story with humor and heart. Young readers struggling through circumstances out of their control or feeling like they don’t fit in will relate to this story.
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Max really, really wants to win the young journalist's competition, but this year it requires a video, not just an article she could write. Max doesn't want to be on camera, where people could see her severe overbite and make her life even more miserable that the school bullies do. Meanwhile, her family is on the verge of falling apart--she and her sister don't get along, and their parents are regularly fighting too. Max really needs a win, but there are just so many things working against her.

This seems an easy one to hand to readers of Smile, but besides the dental drama there's not a lot of overlap. Max's family issues are far larger than Telgemeier's, creating a much darker tone to the story (which, also, is a prose story and not a graphic novel).
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Solid middle grades title about orthondontia, bullying, friends, family, sibling rivalry, and more. Max is dealing with major changes and her sister who used to be her best friend! When her sister joins her at middle school, suddenly she becomes a bully!
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