All's Faire features the most nuanced portrayal of bullying I've seen in a middle-school book, showing how even good kids can be bullies…The fact that we all have a dragon inside us, and must choose kindness and bravery, is a hugely valuable lesson that Jamieson delivers without any didacticism…The book has a huge cast of characters and a ton of action, but Jamieson keeps all the balls in the air without breaking a sweat. She addresses racism…class differences, mean-girl doings, and how to apologize effectivelyand none of it feels belabored. The art seems equally effortless…the chapters unfold in straightforward, artistically uncluttered, easy-to-follow style. And though there's a lot of talking, the art feels kinetic…[and] matches the text in humor…The story has shades of Harriet the Spy, Monty Python, and Peanuts…and the ending is tremendously satisfying without feeling false or unearned. All's Faire in Middle School, I dub thee brilliant.
The New York Times Book Review - Marjorie Ingall
Jamieson doesn’t disappoint in her first graphic novel since her Newbery Honor–winning Roller Girl. Imogen Vega’s parents perform at a Renaissance fair in Florida, immersing the family in a world of jousting and archaic language (“Thou qualling toad-spotted clack-dish!”). Imogen has been homeschooled all her life; now, at 11, she’s headed to public school. In her first weeks, she falls victim to the wiles of a mean girl, hurts a girl who might have been a good friend, and throws her younger brother’s treasured stuffed animal into the lake. As Imogen undergoes a period of self-enforced solitude, the extended family of the fair community offers unexpected support. Jamieson’s sturdy artwork (her figures are decidedly unglamorous, as if to offer regular kids reassurance) and sharp dialogue make it easy to care about her characters. Readers will also appreciate the irreverent humor of the fair’s adults: as a treatment for bullies, one recommends “a large quantity of chicken feathers and a few pots of honey.” The fair emphasizes adventure and theater, but its unconventional performers teach Imogen about kindness, too. Ages 9–12. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Sept.)
A New York Times Editor’s Choice An Autumn Kids’ Indie Next List top pick A Boston Globe Best Children's Book A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Book A New York Public Library Notable Children's Book A Southern Living Best Children’s Book A Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List book An ALA Notable book A VOYA Top Shelf pick A CCBC Choices book " All’s Faire in Middle School is a delightful, funny, and thoughtful adventure through the challenging worlds of friends and family. Huzzah!"—Jennifer and Matthew Holm, New York Times bestselling authors of Sunny Side Up"Victoria Jamieson's graphic novels are gateway drugs to all the best nerdy hobbies." —Cory Doctorow ★ "Readers will cheer [Imogene's] victories, wince at her stumbles, and likely demand visits to the nearest faire themselves to sample the wares and fun." — Kirkus, starred review ★ "Jamieson doesn’t disappoint in her first graphic novel since her Newbery Honor–winning Roller Girl." — Publishers Weekly, starred review ★ "As heartfelt as it is gorgeous, this is a worthy addition to any middle grade graphic novel collection." — School Library Journal " Roller Girl was terrific... All’s Faire in Middle School is even better…The story has shades of H arriet the Spy, Monty Python and Peanuts, and the ending is tremendously satisfying without feeling false or unearned…I dub thee brilliant." — The New York Times Book Review "Jamieson masterfully taps into the voice and concernsof middle-schoolers.... Kids wholoved Jamieson’s Roller Girl will adore this one, too." — Booklist "Middle school is about to get a lot more Faire thanks to Victoria Jamieson’s latest graphic novel."— Entertainment Weekly "Imogene’s story is a Renaissance tale itself—an experience complete with tension, laughter, anticipation, heartbreak, and delight." — The Horn Book"The mean girls/oddball family themes feel fresh, and the explicitly stated moral of 'You’re not the center of the damn universe!' goes down easy." — BCCB "This might be the best graphic novel that I have ever read." — Nerdy Book Club “This colorful graphic novel is rich with themes of belonging, friendship, family, making tough choices, and finding your own way.”—International Literacy Association "A spot-on depiction of the complexities of family dynamics, the nuances of friendship, and the longing to fit in vs. the pull of being true to oneself. Gloriously illustrated in full color, every inch a pleasure. Grade A.” —Sunday Plain Dealer
Gr 4–8—Helping her parents with their jobs at the Renaissance Faire is all 11-year-old homeschooler Imogene "Impy" Vega has ever known. While working with her family is fun, she wants to go to middle school and meet kids her own age. Unfortunately, sheltered Impy is ill-equipped for the realities of draconian teachers, frenemies, and boys. Her new challenges begin to wear her down, and she struggles to develop empathy for others, even in the midst of adolescent angst. This utterly charming graphic novel rivals the author's Newbery Award-winning debut title, Roller Girl. Whereas in the earlier book Jamieson subtly incorporated elements of realism (wrinkles, scuffs, and scrapes on the characters), here she has committed to a more unified cartoonlike look, with fewer details and sketchlike lines. The result is a slightly more polished work. Exaggerated character expressions add further to the appeal. This is a lengthy coming-of-age story that weaves in subplots involving Impy's first real friend, her younger brother, and other cast members of the Faire. Tweens seeking a light read with a quick payoff will shy away, but those who enjoy weightier narratives will lose themselves in Jamieson's world and appreciate the realistic life-goes-on conclusion. VERDICT As heartfelt as it is gorgeous, this is a worthy addition to any middle grade graphic novel collection.—Matisse Mozer, County of Los Angeles Public Library
A home-schooled squireling sallies forth to public school, where the woods turn out to be treacherous and dragons lie in wait.Imogene Vega has grown up among "faire-mily"; her brown-skinned dad is the resident evil knight at a seasonal Renaissance faire, her lighter-skinned mom is in charge of a gift shop, and other adult friends play various costumed roles. As a freshly minted "squire," she happily charges into new weekend duties helping at jousts, practicing Elizabethan invective ("Thou lumpish reeling-ripe jolt-head!" "Thou loggerheaded rump-fed giglet!"), and keeping younger visitors entertained. But she loses her way when cast among crowds of strangers in sixth grade. Along with getting off on the wrong foot academically, she not only becomes a target of mockery after clumsy efforts to join a clique go humiliatingly awry, but alienates potential friends (and, later, loving parents and adoring little brother too). Amid stabs of regret she wonders whether she's more dragon than knight. In her neatly drawn sequential panels, Newbery honoree Jamieson (Roller Girl, 2015) portrays a diverse cast of expressive, naturally posed figures occupying two equally immersive worlds. In the end Imogene wins the day in both, proving the mettle of her brave, decent heart in finding ways to make better choices and chivalric amends for her misdeeds. Readers will cheer her victories, wince at her stumbles, and likely demand visits to the nearest faire themselves to sample the wares and fun. (Graphic fiction. 10-13)