Review: Nat Enough
This week, on my virtual Library Classroom, I asked students if they sat down to write, what genre they would write? Though graphic novels are not a genre, but a format, I threw it in. (And I wrote that it was a format, not a genre.) A few students commented that they’d like to write a graphic novel and specifically said they’d like to write a memoir, like Raina Telgemeier. It just goes to show how popular Telgemeier has made the graphic memoir. (I suggested that they start writing/drawing their experiences during quarantine. It will surely make good fuel for a story.)
By Maria Scrivan
Graphix, April 2020
Grades 3 and up
Nat Enough, by Maria Scrivan, fits neatly into the genre made popular by books like Smile and Sisters. Though mostly fictionalized, it is based on some of Scrivan’s experiences. Nat is starting middle school, and her best friend, though going to the same school, has moved to the other side of town. The distance between their homes has led to a distance in their friendship, and Nat, who never feels like she’s cool enough or popular enough, feels like she’s floundering as she starts her new school.
Nat is a bit obsessed with Lilly dumping her as a friend, so much so that she has a hard time realizing she’s making a whole new crowd of friends. But she is her own worst enemy, as she doubts herself constantly. It’s through an art competition that Nat finally can realize who her friends are and that she is, in fact, “enough.”
The colorful palette lends itself to the colorful characters in the book, like the girl with the hair in her face. The colors are vibrant, the artwork contains much humor, as does the writing. Scrivan brings a lot of levity to her view of middle school life, though she touches on very raw experiences. Navigating friendship in middle school is an ordeal for so many students.
The social hierarchy of middle school isn’t easy, as memoir after memoir is showing students. While there is a sameness that seems to pervade these titles, Nat Enough brings enough humor to the table to allow it to stand apart with its own voice, just as each individual can—as soon as they find their inner voice that says they are enough.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
SLJ Blog Network