This review was originally published on the Johnson City Public Library blog.
Edits have been made to the original post. Outdated/irrelevant information has been struck through and new information has been added in red.
Eleven-year-old Imogene has grown up working with her family at the Florida Renaissance Faire. This year, she finally begins her training as a squire, and along with that, she’s decided she wants to brave the perils of middle school. Having been homeschooled up until this point, Imogene, or Impy, as her family affectionately calls her, tackles some real-life dragons in the form of bullies, peer pressure, and boys (yikes!) for the first time in her life. She knows that if she can stick to the knightly principles she has grown up with (chivalry, honesty, and bravery), that she will be just fine. But as the dragons of middle school encircle her, Impy questions her own actions and wonders whether she is the hero of the story or the villain.
This middle grade graphic novel is pitch perfect for kids entering middle school, especially those who have been homeschooled previously. Jamieson aptly portrays the struggles of fitting in, particularly for middle school girls. Impy finds herself in some very relatable situations, from the mean girls who reel Impy in and ultimately betray her to the crisis of not being able to afford the trendiest clothes. Impy’s “Faire-mily” were incredibly supportive of her, but also gave her the space and time to figure out how to deal with her own mistakes.
The insight into the Renaissance Faire community was fresh and fun. As someone who regularly attends the Tennessee Renaissance Festival every year, I loved the behind-the-scenes glimpse of the work and training that the players put forth each year. This book has tons of appeal for kids who love knights, princesses, and everything else medieval!
I would recommend this for graphic novel fans, especially kids who have read all of Raina Telgemeier’s works and are hungry for more. Jamieson creates wonderfully empowering female protagonists and Impy is no exception.
This would be a fun read before attending a Renaissance Faire as well! The Tennessee Renaissance Festival is every year in May
coming up next month, and I highly recommend it if you’ve never been. Also, the Appalachian Renaissance Faire, which is closer to home in Piney Flats, is coming up in November September. You can find more info on events they have planned here: http://www.appalachianrenfaire.com/events.php
For more info on the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, visit their website at http://www.tnrenfest.com/
*In hindsight, I should’ve published this a couple of months ago to coincide with the Ren Fest. I’ve just been trying to publish all of my old book reviews in ascending order and didn’t really think about timing. I’ll do better, I promise! =)