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Review

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Fifth Grade can be difficult. New friendships form, old social groups dissolve, new pressures emerge and children begin to take tentative steps toward independence. It can be an exciting time of safe experimentation and creativity, testing boundaries in healthy and fun ways. CLICK, the debut graphic novel by writer and illustrator Kayla Miller, explores the tensions and possibilities of fifth grade through Olive's story as she prepares for the school variety show.

"CLICK examines some common themes and places them into a compelling context....Miller’s illustrations are exuberant and crisp and nicely capture the tone of the story..."

Olive is a fun-loving, friendly 10-year-old who enjoys spending time with different friends from school. She also has a great relationship with her little brother Simon and an open and trusting relationship with her mother. Her aunt Molly is a loving presence in her life as well. Like all her classmates, she is thrilled when her teacher announces the details of the upcoming variety show. However, right away, Olive sees her friends divide into groups based on their interests and crafts and she feels left out. Some of her friends work on dance performances. Others plan to show off their karate skills. Though Olive can imagine herself in each group, she does not get invited into any of them. Her mother offers to call parents to secure a place in a performance but Olive realizes that is not a good solution. Her aunt Molly agrees. Olive wants to figure out her new social landscape amd the cliques on her own and find her own way to participate in the variety show.

Inspired by videos of some old television variety shows and the humor of the hosts, Olive comes up with what she thinks is the perfect plan. Hosting the variety show will take courage and great comic timing. But, will her mother approve and will her teacher allow it? And, what will her friends think?

Miller’s character Olive is a charming guide through the complexities of the tween years. She is funny and sassy and Miller includes some very real moments of conflict and resolution. CLICK examines some common themes and places them into a compelling context. The text is simple and straightforward, although at moments the language seems a little unnatural and the pace stalls. Miller’s illustrations are exuberant and crisp and nicely capture the tone of the story and the emotions of the characters. CLICK heralds the arrival of a promising talent on the graphic novel scene!

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on February 26, 2019

Click
by Kayla Miller