A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Transitions can be difficult, and Just Pretend encourages kids to face them with creativity and bravery.
Art, creativity, and storytelling are powerful pastimes when the future is uncertain. Moving away from friends is difficult, but accommodations can often be made to maintain emotional closeness.
Positive Role Models
With her parents divorced and her school friends headed in different directions, Tori Sharp feels lonely and ignored. She uses art and storytelling to feel better about her circumstances. In terms of representation, Tori is White, Taylor is Asian American, and Penny, a character in Tori's story, has brown skin.
Violence & Scariness
Goblins attack in the fantasy scenes. Tori and her older brother scuffle physically.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Tori has a mild crush on a classmate.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tori Sharp's Just Pretend is a graphic memoir that follows seventh-grade Tori as she navigates a particularly stressful school year. It's the late '90s, and she's dealing with her parents' recent divorce, seeing her school friends headed in different directions, and writing and drawing fantasy fiction helps her get through it all. The book emphasizes the importance of art as a means of understanding depression. Goblins attack in the fantasy scenes. Tori and her older brother scuffle physically. Tori has a mild crush on a classmate.
Is It Any Good?
Divorce is almost always difficult for children, and this heartfelt graphic memoir captures the isolation many kids struggle with. In Just Pretend, cartoonist Tori Sharp illustrates how she relied on her imagination and love of fantasy drawing to deal with problems at home and school. Her depiction of her family will be relatable for many readers -- sometimes sad, but often comforting. The book is filled with humor, and Sharp's graphic artistry invites the reader into the story from the first panel.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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