A a fan of graphic novels and someone who is starting to become interested in memoirs, I have to say that Just Pretend caught my eye. Today’s post is a part of the book tour for Just Pretend hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Keep on reading to find out more about the book, the tour and my review.
A big thanks to the publisher for providing an e-arc to read and review!
Just Pretend by Tori Sharp
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Publishing Date: May 18, 2021
Fans of Real Friends and Be Prepared will love this energetic, affecting graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce.
Tori has never lived in just one world.
Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.
Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.
Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.
Reading someone’s memoir makes it hard to rate, because how can you rate someone else’s experiences? I will rate how I enjoyed the book and the reading experience. I have to start off by saying that I love the illustrations. Everything is colorful and really stands out. I really enjoyed the art used in Just Pretend.
Tori is 12 years old and dealing with a lot children this age will understand: middle school, friendships growing and changing, siblings and in Tori’s case her parents getting divorced. I have to say I really felt the emotions jump off the pages and have to say it did feel realistic. My only “issue” with this one were the time jumps. It happened a couple of times and sometimes it took a little bit before I could place where we were in the story.
Besides Tori’s experiences we also get to see her love for creating stories. I loved the enthusiasm and that the author mixed some of this fantasy story through the memoir side of this story. It fit together well and it was fun to see how passionate she was even at a younger age. I feel it also showed us that this was her outlet to deal with everything else going on in her life.
There was also a nice finishing touch at the end where Tori talks about how the story came to be and is based on her life at that age. I also thought it was nice how she showed everyone how drawings came to be and how she put everything together. All in all a very interesting story.
The tour for Just Pretend started on May 31st and runs through June 6th. A lot of amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers are participating during this tour. Click here for the full schedule, so you can see everyone’s posts.
About the Author
Tori Sharp is a Seattle-based author-illustrator and swing and blues dancer with a BFA in sequential art from SCAD. You can find her online at http://www.noveltori.com and on Twitter @noveltori. Just Pretend is her debut graphic novel.
I’m so glad I decided to participate and read Just Pretend. The illustrations were amazing and it’s interesting see someone describe a time in their life in a graphic novel. There are topics in this story that I think many kids that age can relate to. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more work by this author.