Monday, May 14, 2018
Middle Grade Monday and Review: Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson
Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson. 220 p. Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers, May 1, 2018. 9780062484970.
I don't know about you, but graphic novel hybrids have become popular at my school. This companion novel to Invisible Emmie is sure to please even if your students haven't read the firs. Emmie makes some appearances, but it's not essential to know what went on in Invisible Emmie to enjoy Positively Izzy.
Izzy's POV is told with illustrated, often hilarious prose. "I try to pay attention to Ms. Bloom, but her voice is so bland, I feel like I'm listening to the hum of an electric fan." (p. 43) She's a creative, free spirit whose interests lie in drama rather than in math and science. She's the middle child of three girls and her nurse mother works very hard to support the family. When Izzy blows a take-home exam, she's grounded the very day she's to perform in a talent show. She sneaks out with the help of her younger sister.
Brianna's POV is told through illustrated panels and speech bubbles. She labels herself a "brain" despite disliking the tendency of people to label. She lives with her single mother but her father lives in the same town. They are both teachers and Brianna is ambivalent about the fact that they are both "cool" and she is anything but. She reluctantly says yes to her mom when a performer in a skit can't make the evening's talent show. She's paired with an annoying boy from her advanced classes and suddenly can't see herself performing in front of the entire school.
Izzy lives for that. Readers will think they know where the story is going but are in for a surprise and will have to reread parts of the book to get the ending. I'm not entirely sure that I do, but Positively Izzy is a fun book. In fact, I don't think it will sit for long. A fifth grader spied it on my desk the other day and asked to check it out and I wasn't even done reading it! There's a bright pink Post-It note with her name on it on the cover for when I catalog the book for our collection.
This is an amusing, charming, gentle, relatable middle grade read.