Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

Brave

In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different - math is hard, getting along with friends is hard...Even finding a partner for the class project is a big problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure's on even more once the school newspaper's dynamic...

Title:Brave
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0316363189
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:248 pages

Brave Reviews

  • Melody

    This is crazy good and crazy important. It made me giggle. It made me tear up because Jensen's journey was so real, and so honest. Chmakova does an excellent job of portraying her characters and I want all of them to have their own books. These are GREAT stories for middle schoolers that never feel like they're talking down to them.

  • Christina

    A graphic novel aimed at middle school readers, I found this to be a great read. Technically the second book in the Berrybrook Middle School series, but it works really well as a stand alone. I read book 1 when it came out and I don't remember it well, but do remember enjoying it. I wasn't sure I'd like BRAVE because I didn't think I'd identify enough with the main character, a middle school boy. But I found him to be very likable and I was quickly invested in his story. The author has created a

    A graphic novel aimed at middle school readers, I found this to be a great read. Technically the second book in the Berrybrook Middle School series, but it works really well as a stand alone. I read book 1 when it came out and I don't remember it well, but do remember enjoying it. I wasn't sure I'd like BRAVE because I didn't think I'd identify enough with the main character, a middle school boy. But I found him to be very likable and I was quickly invested in his story. The author has created a rich and diverse world of characters, each visually distinct and with a nicely developed personality. She shows diversity in a natural way, breaks down stereotypes, and does a wonderful job of combining art and dialogue to tell an effective story. The book deals with themes of friendship and bullying in a way that is relatable, avoiding cliche. I'd be interested to see what a young reader thinks of this book, so I picked up a copy for my nephew. Seems this would be a great book for a middle school library, especially for reluctant readers--it might help them get into reading for fun.

  • Mikayla Almquist

    TEN MILLION STARS GUYS.

    No really, ALL THE STARS!

    I cried. Like. Actual-Facts tears.

  • Melissa McShane

    I was deeply impressed with

    and expected to love

    as much. It was even better than the first. Featuring Jensen, a very minor character from

    , this story about bullying is incredibly powerful because it gets to the heart of what it means to be bullied--and how victims can lie to themselves about even being bullied at all. Jensen is sweet and ordinary, with dreams of becoming an astronaut and a love of drawing, and at first the reader doesn't realize just how alone he is. The g

    I was deeply impressed with

    and expected to love

    as much. It was even better than the first. Featuring Jensen, a very minor character from

    , this story about bullying is incredibly powerful because it gets to the heart of what it means to be bullied--and how victims can lie to themselves about even being bullied at all. Jensen is sweet and ordinary, with dreams of becoming an astronaut and a love of drawing, and at first the reader doesn't realize just how alone he is. The gradual realization that he's the victim of several kinds of bullying shows how brilliantly Chmakova has illustrated, in both senses, the life of an ordinary child suffering in unfortunately ordinary ways. The cast of characters is stunning, and I couldn't begin to list the ones who were my favorites. I'm not ashamed to admit I cried. Now I'm dying to know what Chmakova comes up with next for this series.

  • Jacob Proffitt

    Just as good as

    , maybe better. Jenson is so sweet and trying so hard and I love how well Chmakova pulls us into his perspective and why he doesn't even realize he's being bullied, even as he adopts patterns and mechanisms to avoid the pain. Chmakova is a talented artist and storyteller and does such a fantastic job depicting the protohumans of middle school in all their messed-up glory. And I'm really glad she chose a graphical format for theses stories. She says at the end that "express

    Just as good as

    , maybe better. Jenson is so sweet and trying so hard and I love how well Chmakova pulls us into his perspective and why he doesn't even realize he's being bullied, even as he adopts patterns and mechanisms to avoid the pain. Chmakova is a talented artist and storyteller and does such a fantastic job depicting the protohumans of middle school in all their messed-up glory. And I'm really glad she chose a graphical format for theses stories. She says at the end that "expressions are 99.999% of what makes a character". And for these stories, she's exactly right (and she nails her characters every page, every frame).

    I'm not one who will seek out her art on the internet or go out of my way to devour her books. But I'll absolutely let myself be dragged through it all by my daughter who is an enthusiastic fan...

  • Tammy

    The story has a good moral, but I never felt a connection to the characters. That is probably why it took me forever to read. 14 days for a graphic novel seems like forever!

  • steph

    Jensen is the best. Seriously. I loved seeing his drawn on the page, his facial expressions, body language, daydreams. He is really just a character that is so well written, drawn, etc.

    I read Awkward last year when I was interviewing for a children's librarian position (I had to recommend a few books and Awkward was one of those recs) and I really liked it. It had a positive message intersected between all the middle school drama and Brave follows the same format. But, I think I liked Brave more

    Jensen is the best. Seriously. I loved seeing his drawn on the page, his facial expressions, body language, daydreams. He is really just a character that is so well written, drawn, etc.

    I read Awkward last year when I was interviewing for a children's librarian position (I had to recommend a few books and Awkward was one of those recs) and I really liked it. It had a positive message intersected between all the middle school drama and Brave follows the same format. But, I think I liked Brave more? Partly is because I really like Jensen and partly it is because it focused on bullying and man oh man that is

    an important topic for this age group. I especially liked that

    This is a book I think middle schoolers should read just because it touches on some important topics. Especially the "be the change you want to see". Gosh, Jensen is just

    .

    I hope Chmakova is not done writing about Berrybrook Middle School. I am NOWHERE near the age demographic for this series but I'd read more of this universe. Actually really anything written by her. She is such a great writer/such illustrator. I love seeing what the background characters are doing in the panels, some of them are quite hysterical.

  • Erica

    This is incredibly good.

    Because I'm not a fan of Chmakova's

    series, I didn't read

    but am now on hold for it and am #3 on the holds list. I hope to get my hands on it soon because this one impressed me tremendously.

    Here's what I loved most about this book: it feels natural. Maybe not fully realistic - the malicious bullying probably doesn't look quite like real-life bullying and the perfectly diverse crowd is far too beautifully perfect to be real life and everyone is obv

    This is incredibly good.

    Because I'm not a fan of Chmakova's

    series, I didn't read

    but am now on hold for it and am #3 on the holds list. I hope to get my hands on it soon because this one impressed me tremendously.

    Here's what I loved most about this book: it feels natural. Maybe not fully realistic - the malicious bullying probably doesn't look quite like real-life bullying and the perfectly diverse crowd is far too beautifully perfect to be real life and everyone is obviously smack-dab middle class - but it's still reasonable, logical, and nothing is hitting the reader over the head so that they comprehend the very obvious important message.

    Spoiler: There isn't a very obvious important message. There are a lot of important messages and they're all deftly presented and well-handled.

    The audience for this is middle school/junior high kids and while it may be enjoyable to some of the high school crowd, it's the tween crowd who really needs it.

    Main character Jensen Graham has a hard time paying attention to what he should be paying attention to (he's great at daydreaming and terrible at real-life follow through) as he navigates daily school life. He copes by viewing school as a video game that will give him the prize of his favorite club at the end of the day if he can just survive until then. He's in art club but does contract work for newspaper club. He's being bullied but doesn't understand that's what's happening because one set of bullies is his art club friends. The other set is actual bullies but he can't really tell that's what they're doing because he doesn't understand social cues. In the background, there are: BFF fights and make-ups (Jenny and Akilah are my faaaaavorites! I love them so much!), supportive teachers, civic action regarding outdated dress codes, and the whole thing is peopled with a perfectly diverse cast.

    All these issues - learning difficulties, loneliness, bullying, fighting, social rankings, ridiculous rules that impede education - are handled gracefully and in a way that makes simple sense. It's not dramatic nor overwrought but these things aren't downplayed or subtle, either.

    I need more eloquence because I'm having a hard time expressing why this story felt so

    to me. I just wish more middle grade offerings felt this powerful.

    Give this to your middle-schooler. Make sure your library owns this. Get it to all the kids!


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