Positively Izzy

Libenson’s graphic novel follows two girls and their struggles to navigate middle school. Izzy is a dreamer who loves acting and drama, but struggles to focus on her work, which leads to frustration at home, while Bri is a straight A student, who wants to be seen for more than her brain.

Izzy and Bri’s stories are told through two parallel strands. The different typography and styles make it easy to follow whose story is being told. I loved the honest portrayal of the families in the book – it really captures the middle schoolers’ struggle between being themselves and not letting their families down. The novel is easy to read and entertaining, at times making me laugh out loud.

While the stories are full of humour and fun illustrations, the twist on how the two girls’ lives intersect left me confused. I only understood the relationship between Izzy and Bri because of the reveal on the very last page of the novel. I immediately went and reread the story, and found clues I had missed the first time. Reading the story again knowing the twist was definitely worth it, and it was much more enjoyable the second time around.

An enjoyable read, with surprising depth, this story is definitely worth a closer look.