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Raina Telgemeier


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

"Should we tell her?"
"I don't know, what if it's a boy?"

Ha, well it was a girl, but Raina certainly didn't get the soulmate of a younger sister she was expecting. Instead she got a sibling, Amara, who seemingly has no interest in socialising with her, or indeed even being social to her. Right from her birth, her sister seems to take delight in generally antagonising and annoying her. Their only shared interest seems to be drawing, but even that doesn't seem to be something they can bond over.

Meanwhile, the time has come for a family vacation and whilst Dad is flying to and from the destination of Colorado, Mum, the girls and their younger brother are going to drive in a VW camper van. From California. It proves to be a very long trip, in both directions, broken up only by a family reunion with various aunts, uncles and cousins, with whom they are staying. There is one female cousin in particular Raina is looking forward to catching up with, as she felt much more of a sisterly connection with her the last time they met than she has ever felt with her own. Several years have passed since then however, and now their slight difference in ages, Raina being the younger, is rather apparent, leaving Raina first a tad bemused and then disappointed.

If you are a fan of Raina's previous work, the dentally traumatic SMILE, then you will be familiar with her cheerful, breezy art style, and find this just as much cringeworthy fun. I loved the recycling of the SMILE cover image into this cover as well, very amusing. This is a warmly written, humorous, and I am sure entirely accurate portrait of what it must be like to have endured a shared childhood with someone you could quite cheerfully have strangled at any given moment. Fortunately, being an only child I managed to avoid all that, though obviously now having Stephen as a business partner I feel I might be gaining some insight into the matter...

Amara can't have been that bad though, or maybe they just get on better as adults, as Raina does dedicate this work to her!