Big Apple Diaries. Alyssa Bermudez. 2021. [August] 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: It's the first week of seventh grade.
Premise/plot: Alyssa Bermudez shares some of her diary entries in her new book, Big Apple Diaries. This nonfiction illustrated diary (is it a graphic novel or an illustrated diary?) opens in September 2000. She is entering seventh grade. The book covers both her seventh and eighth grade years, 2000 through 2002. It covers school life (friends, teachers, classes, homework) and home life (her parents' divorce, living in two homes, her freedom or lack thereof, her friends, her hobbies, etc.). One of the big topics is her crush on Alejandro, a classmate/deskmate. I should mention, I suppose, it is set at a Catholic School. As the title suggests, it's set in New York City.
My thoughts: I think adults and tweens will approach this book differently--for better or worse. As an adult, when I read the date--September 2000--I was like I bet this book covers 9/11. Emotionally I was already sent a shock wave--is that the right word??? Finding out that her father works at the World Trade Center and that her mother also works downtown, it was another punch. I felt a connection and was invested in Alyssa's story. The target audience for this one would have been born between 2008 and 2011. I'm not sure there will be this immediate connection or concern because they didn't live through this. 9/11 if thought of as all is probably an event in a history book, it doesn't come with mental/emotional baggage.
I don't want you to think the whole book is about 9/11. It isn't. Alyssa is your typical (somewhat typical) tween. The issues she is facing at this time in her life are universal and super relatable. And I think that is important. Readers today can connect with Alyssa still.
I definitely liked this one.
© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews