I’m super happy to be part of the booktour for Just Pretend by Tori Sharp, organized by TBR and Beyond Tours. Special thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown Books for my copy of Just Pretend.
Book Info: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.
It’s a memoire in the form of a graphic novel
I feel like this needs to be said first, before I entice you to read it. I didn’t realize this until I read the author’s not at the end of the book and I feel like the story makes so much more sense and is far more relatable when you know that going in. I promptly read the book a second time and felt like I had a whole new appreciation for the people the story is about and how Tori reacts to the things that happen to her. I’ve never read a memoire in the form of a graphic novel before, so this was a great new experience for me.
Fun references to things 90s kids grew up with
If you grew up in the 90s like me, you will find some fun references to certain things that, well, that were a thing back then. Be it video games, old PCs or even Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart which I used to love as a kid (and still do). I loved discovering those small tidbits and the “hey” moment when I stumbled over such a jewel. But fear not if you are afraid that those references might fly over your head, “Just Pretend” is enjoyable nevertheless.
You don’t have to be from a from a family with divorced parents or have older siblings or even write stories to cope with your life – many of the things Tori is/has been going through are pretty relatable. Be it her struggles growing up, quarreling with her siblings or her parents or be it squabbles with her friends – character Tori was so relatable to me. I loved how real and alive she seemed to me, even when some of the things that happend didn’t have a real conclusion. That’s just how real life is. Not all the problems you face, or all inconveniences will have a solution or be resolved. And thinking about it like this just makes the story more real.
You basically get two stories in one
I think we all know about daydreams. Some of us even are even writers but surely all of us are readers. And the mind drifts. Just like that, Tori spent a lot of her time working on her own novel when she was a teenager and worked on it even when she didn’t really have spare time which means, she worked on it during her school lessons and got into trouble.
Whenever Tori drifts off into the world of her imagination, her novel takes over the story. I thought that some of it was how Tori was coping with her struggles but nevertheless it was great how you could get glimpses of Tori’s novel, bits and pieces that made me curious about that book and that other story and made me want to read it.
I’m always hyped about books with beautifully depicted friendships. Friendships that feel real without being too much. Friendships where both parties have their own struggles and where things happen that happen in real life too. Being it loyalty and trust or personal struggles or fun and dance and giggles or fights and reconciliation. Tori had such great relationships with her friends that it was a joy to read about them.
So, what do you think? Have I enticed you to read this graphic novel or do you already have it on your tbr?