Growing Pangs

Random. May 2022. 256p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9780593301289; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780593301319.
Gr 3-6–Katie, who struggles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies, heads to summer camp with her best friend Kacey. While Katie branches out and begins meeting new friends, both at camp and afterwards at her homeschool co-op, Kacey has a hard time coping with the changes in their relationship, and the two grow apart. Meanwhile, Katie continues to struggle with severe anxiety and OCD until eventually she is able to get help. This tweenage story of growing up is based on Ormsbee’s own preteen and teen years struggling with similar issues. Katie’s character is relatable, and young readers will connect with the symbolism of a buzzing bee to represent her anxiety. The struggles Katie faces with her friend Kacey will be familiar to many readers as well. Unfortunately, there are a few too many plot lines woven throughout the story, and they all feel a bit stunted. Brooks’s artwork shines throughout and helps the story come to life. Her realistic, full-color scenes pair well with the story of early teenage struggles, and fans of other slice-of-life graphic novels will be drawn to this title.
VERDICT Although it has too many subplots, this colorful graphic novel has a lot to grab the attention of many young readers. Fans of Raina Telgemeier and Kayla Miller are sure to enjoy it. Recommended for most collections.

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