Review: Guts by Raina Telgemeier
By Raina Telgemeier
Out September 17, 2019
[T]here are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*.
Anton Ego said that in my favorite animated movie, Ratatouille (what a surprise, my favorite cartoon is the one that features a critic). Writing a book review often comes down to: Do I discuss a book that people don’t know about? Or one they do? Clearly, the fun is in the new. But Guts is by someone you likely know pretty well – Raina Telgemeier. Guts doesn’t need a review to let people know they should read it – fans of her past work are chomping at the bit. But when it’s this good, I can’t help myself.
It’s a couple years earlier than Smile, and Raina is having stomach problems. What’s the cause? Why does the thought of puking freak her out so much? And how will all of it effect her family and school life?
There’s nothing more universal than food, and the book deals with food in a way I haven’t seen before – a sort of non-judgmental depiction of one tween’s eating ups and downs, and the anxiety that comes with it. It’s, to my knowledge, the first graphic novel about I.B.S.. While the topic could be (and boy has it been) mined for easy humor, Guts is refreshingly retrained, focusing on the real life impacts of I.B.S. and saving the one big punchline for the last page of the book.
So I’m not risking anything here. I’m not discovering or defending the new. But I am telling you that this book is great.
Review copy from the publisher.
Watch the Guts book tailer:
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
SLJ Blog Network