Saturday, May 22, 2021

Truly Tyler (Emmy and Friends #5)

Libenson, Terri. Truly Tyler (Emmy and Friends #5)
May 4th 2021 by Balzer + Bray
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Tyler is on the basketball team and has good friends there, but is also very interested in art. His friends don't quite understand this, nor does his father, who lives far away with his new wife and only seems to ask Tyler about basketball when they talk on the phone. When art class has a comic book project, Emmie is over the moon that she gets to work with her crush, Tyler, but she second guesses every remark he makes, and can't stand the things that his friends say to her. The more into the project Tyler gets, the more he steps away from basketball, and the more trouble his friends give both him and Emmie. His ex girlfriend, Celie, is especially mean. Emmie also is very nervous about her new friend Sarah, and the things that other's say about Sarah's fashion sense. She starts to distance herself so that people don't make fun of her for hanging out with Sarah. Emmie is also consumed with doubts about her relationship with Tyler-- she likes being with him, and they have fun sharing their interest in art, but she can't stand when others refer to her as "Tyler's downgrade". Eventually, both Tyler and Emmie make peace with their own feelings and are able to enjoy being friends. 
Strengths: Friend drama is one of the most popular topic students request, and personal identity is a topic they like but don't even know to ask for, and this combines both nicely. The art style is bright and clean, with plenty of white space on the pages-- a hugely important design feature to which not enough attention is paid. The realistic topics of projects and friend groups will resonate with readers. 
Weaknesses: If Emmie has this much anxiety, perhaps she should be in counseling, and it should be mentioned more, especially since she is SO anxious all the time. I also didn't understand Tyler's problems with his mother's cooking being mostly frozen food. He mentions that she does a great job holding things together as a single mom, but can't let the home cooked but frozen meals slide?
What I really think: Not my favorite, but the students like these books. There is more text than most graphic novels, but has enough pictures to appeal to students who don't want to read anything else.

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