Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Jordan, a twelve-year-old artist, would love to go to art school, but instead his parents enroll him in a private school with top-notch academics. Jordan finds that he’s one of only a few kids of color in the seventh grade at his new school in New Kid by author Jerry Craft.
Yes. I picked this graphic novel up because of the race/diversity issue it addresses. Yes, it resonated with me in a number of places on that score, such as in a section of Jordan’s sketchbook labeled “Judging Kids by the Covers of Their Books!” Jordan’s view of mainstream books for kids versus African American books for kids—good gravy. He could’ve grabbed that right out of my brain.
Even so, this novel doesn’t get caught up in being so issue-y that it ceases to be entertaining, accessible, and inclusive. It’s a three-dimensional story that takes a look at more than one viewpoint and has much that any “new” or different person can relate to, both within and beyond schooldays and childhood/adolescence.
Jordan’s story strikes a balance between the downright hilarious parts and parts that can prick your heart or make your stomach drop. It packs in both obvious and understated genius, and what it simply leaves up to the reader’s perception and observation is as real as what it says through the characters’ speech and thought bubbles. It’s not a story that magically solves every character’s every problem, but it still wraps up in a way that’s inspiring and satisfying.
And did I mention how hilarious the novel is? I did?
It’d be hard not to take away something awesome from a book like this.