free hit counter code Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age

Availability: Ready to download

A very unscientific poll recently revealed that 99.9% of all people who attended middle school hated it. Fortunately, some of those people have grown up to be clever and talented comic artists, with an important message to share: Everyone can survive middle school! Edited by underground comics icon Ariel Schrag, this anthology of illustrated tales about the agonies and tri A very unscientific poll recently revealed that 99.9% of all people who attended middle school hated it. Fortunately, some of those people have grown up to be clever and talented comic artists, with an important message to share: Everyone can survive middle school! Edited by underground comics icon Ariel Schrag, this anthology of illustrated tales about the agonies and triumphs of seventh and eight grade features some of America's leading graphic novelists, including Daniel Clowes, Joe Matt, Lauren Weinstein, and Ariel herself. With a sense of humor as refreshing as it is bitingly honest, seventeen artists share their stories of first love, bullying, zits, and all the things that make middle school the worst years of our lives.


Compare
Ads Banner

A very unscientific poll recently revealed that 99.9% of all people who attended middle school hated it. Fortunately, some of those people have grown up to be clever and talented comic artists, with an important message to share: Everyone can survive middle school! Edited by underground comics icon Ariel Schrag, this anthology of illustrated tales about the agonies and tri A very unscientific poll recently revealed that 99.9% of all people who attended middle school hated it. Fortunately, some of those people have grown up to be clever and talented comic artists, with an important message to share: Everyone can survive middle school! Edited by underground comics icon Ariel Schrag, this anthology of illustrated tales about the agonies and triumphs of seventh and eight grade features some of America's leading graphic novelists, including Daniel Clowes, Joe Matt, Lauren Weinstein, and Ariel herself. With a sense of humor as refreshing as it is bitingly honest, seventeen artists share their stories of first love, bullying, zits, and all the things that make middle school the worst years of our lives.

30 review for Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jan Philipzig

    When Dan Clowes & Joe Matt Hit Puberty... I read this comic-book anthology on the experiences of early adolescence because I am generally interested in the subject of youth, and because it looked like a great opportunity to sample the work of a few lesser-known alternative cartoonists. Unfortunately, the majority of contributions turned out to be less impressive than I had hoped, and the best ones are from cartoonists most fans of alternative comics are already familiar with. To me, one of the two When Dan Clowes & Joe Matt Hit Puberty... I read this comic-book anthology on the experiences of early adolescence because I am generally interested in the subject of youth, and because it looked like a great opportunity to sample the work of a few lesser-known alternative cartoonists. Unfortunately, the majority of contributions turned out to be less impressive than I had hoped, and the best ones are from cartoonists most fans of alternative comics are already familiar with. To me, one of the two standouts is a scene taken from Joe Matt's The Poor Bastard - a darkly humorous reflection on young Joe's obsession with comic-book collecting. Even better is a short story by Dan Clowes that I had never read before: "Like a Weed, Joe" (also collected in The Daniel Clowes Reader). It explores the absurdities of young infatuation in a brilliantly insightful, subtle yet crystal clear way - the kind of story that makes you remember things you had been trying very hard to forget. For my money, it is one of the very best comic-book short stories ever, certainly a must-read for anyone interested in alternative comics. In short, I cannot really recommend this anthology as a whole, but it made me realize that I urgently need to reread everything by Dan Clowes and Joe Matt. It has been far too long!

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    If you were like the 99% of kids (according to the blurb) who hated middle school, then this book is full of ouch. Actually, even if you were one of the 1% (the cool kids who were not only popular but had neither academic nor family problems), then this book is full of at least second-hand ouch. A compilation of short comics written and illustrated by a variety of cartoonists, most of whom are about my age or a little younger, so I could relate to the 80s setting of most of the stories, this book If you were like the 99% of kids (according to the blurb) who hated middle school, then this book is full of ouch. Actually, even if you were one of the 1% (the cool kids who were not only popular but had neither academic nor family problems), then this book is full of at least second-hand ouch. A compilation of short comics written and illustrated by a variety of cartoonists, most of whom are about my age or a little younger, so I could relate to the 80s setting of most of the stories, this book is basically all about how middle school sucks. I guess this is supposed to comfort the target audience, to tell them that they are not alone in being awkward, miserable, unpopular, inferior, and lonely? Of course with an adult's perspective we know that for most of us, the trials we imagined we were enduring were not really that bad, that everyone else was too preoccupied with their own issues to be giving us nearly as much attention as we thought they were, and that every adolescent ever has been awkward and embarrassed and self-conscious. The stories are your usual trials of middle school hell: being the new kid, the outsider, the freak, the geek, the loner, experiencing the betrayals, the drama, the discomfort, the creepy old teachers and the well-meaning teachers who are equally annoying to kids who want nothing to do with adults, the parents who range from loving and understanding to abusive but who likewise are always the last people on earth you want to associate with when you are 13. So much of it was familiar, of course. But while there were some amusing and touching stories in this collection, nothing was really laugh-out-loud funny, nor was anything truly poignant. We have all been there and done that and know that middle school sucked, and mostly what the stories reminded me of was how absolutely inane and self-absorbed most kids are. Not their fault - I was certainly inane and self-absorbed. But I didn't really enjoy the stories that much, I was too busy wincing from Fremdscham. The artwork also ranged toward the sketchy and cartoonish. So, maybe this is a good volume to give your suffering adolescent child to let her know that she is not the only one in the world to feel this way and no, the whole entire world is actually not watching every move you make and judging how you eat and talk and walk. But I prefer longer stories with more of a moral than "Yup, sucks to be 13."

  3. 4 out of 5

    A.L.

    The foreword to this book ends with "misery loves company, so start reading." They couldn't have said it any better. This collection was miserable. That's not to say that the artists and storytellers aren't talented (many of them are award-winning or award-nominated). This collection, however, offered nothing new to readers trying to "survive" middle school. Instead it was filled with painful stories that offered little or no insight into that time of life (save Jace Smith's contribution). Readin The foreword to this book ends with "misery loves company, so start reading." They couldn't have said it any better. This collection was miserable. That's not to say that the artists and storytellers aren't talented (many of them are award-winning or award-nominated). This collection, however, offered nothing new to readers trying to "survive" middle school. Instead it was filled with painful stories that offered little or no insight into that time of life (save Jace Smith's contribution). Reading this book quickly felt like a chore just to finish it, and left me feeling depressed. Also, the foreword and the text on the cover flaps of this book are clearly targeted to readers in middle school. It's even recommended for "12 and up." The language, vulgarity, and hopeless tenor of the book, however, would keep me from giving it to anyone in that target audience. I would not recommend this collection to anyone.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I was really excited for this--it had gotten some super reviews. A great graphic-novelly anthology about the trials and tribulations of middle school, drawn & written by some great contemporary comic artists? right on. ...but it turns out I'm not so keen on it. I don't think it's half as great as the reviews make it out to be. And it made me feel a little sick and yellow when I read it. There are a few good moments in most of the pieces--and there are a few really great drawings that made me lau I was really excited for this--it had gotten some super reviews. A great graphic-novelly anthology about the trials and tribulations of middle school, drawn & written by some great contemporary comic artists? right on. ...but it turns out I'm not so keen on it. I don't think it's half as great as the reviews make it out to be. And it made me feel a little sick and yellow when I read it. There are a few good moments in most of the pieces--and there are a few really great drawings that made me laugh... And maybe a middle schooler really would LOVE it. but overall I think it missed its mark. Sidenote: I'm not sure how I feel about stories, intended for kids/adolescents, with pictures of kids smoking / drug references / hands-down-pants. Argument for: in context it all makes sense / noteably the protagonist is not the active smoker/druggist / it's normal & fine -- also, stories are stories. Argument against: somehow graphic representation is a higher degree of representation than written description for me. ...maybe I'm offbase here, but I definitely have a different gut reaction when I see a picture-story of smoking/drugs/hands-down-pants than I do when I read a words-only story describing the same thing. The more I think about that, actually, the more I think I'm offbase. ...like, I'm fine with The Chocolate War and Hole in My Life, but not drawing-stories of less-graphic situations? further self-examination required, I suppose. Funny thing: it's put out by Viking Juvenile--but I really don't think it's intended for that market. This seems fallacious and suspicious. I'm not convinced that 12-16 yr olds really want to read about dirty-nostalgia like frilly blouses and winged hair...

  5. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I did like this collection, by a variety of talented artists, about their experiences in middle school. Daniel Clowes and others tell some pretty miserable tales... telling me nothing really new about middle school... though I pause to reflect that most comic artists seem to tend to be outsiders, recluses, bullied, dumped by potential suitors, etc etc... I was amused and entertained, nevertheless, and think maybe it would be a good companion book for teacher education....

  6. 5 out of 5

    Different Is Beautiful

    WeB.f.f ⭐ From fair weather ⭐ Snitch ⭐⭐⭐.5 Anxiety ⭐⭐ Plain on number 7 bus. 0.5 star Tips for surviving middle school ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Like a weed Joe 0.5 stars Tina roti ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 The adventure of batboy and starling ⭐⭐ Hit me ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Carter face ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 Horse camp ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 A relationship in eight pages ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 Never go home ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 The Disco prairie rebellion of '81 ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 Simple machines ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 Shit ⭐⭐.5 My rating for this book is 4.5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Obsessed Reader)

    I feel a sense of comfort when I think about this book, it’s just nice to hear about other people’s awkward middle school experiences, and to know that none of us are alone in the things we experience & feel. Very enjoyable & I loved seeing all the different art styles. I feel a sense of comfort when I think about this book, it’s just nice to hear about other people’s awkward middle school experiences, and to know that none of us are alone in the things we experience & feel. Very enjoyable & I loved seeing all the different art styles.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    I'm glad I kept on reading the second half was a lot better. Giving this graphic novel anthology 3.5 stars. Like I said above, this is an anthology. A collection of short stories by 16 different authors. The editor of this collection got to add two short stories. I don't want to talk about all 17 stories in this review because that would take too long. I did however break down each story in my updated progress section. So if you are super interested in each story you can look there. All of these I'm glad I kept on reading the second half was a lot better. Giving this graphic novel anthology 3.5 stars. Like I said above, this is an anthology. A collection of short stories by 16 different authors. The editor of this collection got to add two short stories. I don't want to talk about all 17 stories in this review because that would take too long. I did however break down each story in my updated progress section. So if you are super interested in each story you can look there. All of these stories are set in middle school and high school. The horrible teenage years. Filled with angst and bullying. I think everyone can relate to feeling uncomfortable around peers. Being horrified about our parents or put in situations we can't control and are teased because of it. I grew up very poor. All of my clothes were from the salvation army and my dad was an alcoholic. So some of these stories I could relate to. That doesn't make them good stories. It makes them depressing stories and reminds me that my childhood kind of sucked. Thank god we all grow up and move on with our lives lol. My favorite stories from this collection were, in no particular order... 'Tips for Surviving Middle School', by Jace Smith. These two strategies seem like they would legit work. Too bad I didn't know about them in elementary school. I was the poor loser with ratty clothes back then. :( The second story that I liked was 'Tina Roti', by Cole Johnson. The story was an okay tale about a new girl in school. I enjoyed the illustrations the most from this short story. The characters are cute and the font is great. 'Crater Face', by Dash Shaw was relatable because I had pretty bad acne from 4th-6th grade. It wasn't as bad as the boy in the story, but it was bad for me. I had to do steam facials all the time. My mom was always putting these scorching wash cloths on my face to OPEN my pores. UGH! I liked how the girl could care less the boy had pimples and wanted to hang out with him anyway. 'A relationship in Eight Pages', by Jim Hoover should be called a relationship in Eight Grade. This is so classic. Boy asks out girl. Girl says yes. Then friends say that was a bad idea and girl "dumps" boy. I mean I experienced this before as well. Except it was the other way around. I didn't ask the boy out... but he did dump me after a day lol. Lastly and my favorite of the entire collection was 'SHIT', by Ariel Schrag. This is basically a story about shit. The main character goes on a two day boat trip with the new girl and her new "best-friend". During the trip Samantha the new girl tells our main character that she can't shit in the boat house. But she does anyway and what she does with the shit afterwards is so flipping hilarious. So yes. My favorite story was about SHIT and I don't care. TEEHEE!! I liked that in the back of the book each other has a yearbook photo of them from middle school. It was nice to put a face to the author of the stories. I think all the stories had some truth to them. Not sure if they were all autobiographical. They all were extremely relatable and totally realistic. The did have a depressing vibe to them because of the uncomfortable nature that is middle school. All the kids are trying to figure themselves out and how they relate to their peers. If you like reading comics, if you like to reminiscence about he good ol'days of middle school pick up this short story collection. If you want to find new comic authors to read in the future, this is a nice view of their writing style and their illustrations.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Harris

    Retro Review Stuck in the Middle was one of the first anthologies of memoir and slice of life comics I read, checking it out from my college library, and it really sparked my interest in the genre, introducing me to a lot of cool artists, including Ariel Schrag, Gabrielle Bell, and Aaron Renier, among others. Middle school is definitely a rich and traumatic vein to draw from; I can’t think of anyone who actually enjoyed this period of their educations, the time in between childhood and the beginn Retro Review Stuck in the Middle was one of the first anthologies of memoir and slice of life comics I read, checking it out from my college library, and it really sparked my interest in the genre, introducing me to a lot of cool artists, including Ariel Schrag, Gabrielle Bell, and Aaron Renier, among others. Middle school is definitely a rich and traumatic vein to draw from; I can’t think of anyone who actually enjoyed this period of their educations, the time in between childhood and the beginnings of adolescence, when your peers are the cruelest, your responsibilities are the vaguest, and your very body is doing things you don’t want. All the typical experiences can be found here; trouble with homework, bullying, zits, but some of the comics use these to explore deeper themes. The comics included in "Stuck in the Middle" feature a variety of takes and styles, with a few telling fictional stories set in middle school, while most are drawn from life. Some opt for humor, some for drama, and some for nostalgia. A few are heartbreaking. On the other hand, it is true that the majority of these comics come from white, middle class backgrounds, and are generally set from the early ‘70s to the early ‘90s. In general, I enjoyed this collection and recalled some memories of my own, but really, I just appreciate it for a jumping off point for me into the world of alternative comics.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This collection of snippets from graphic novel greats (Ariel Schrag & Daniel Clowes, to name two,) is making me laugh out loud during my lunch breaks. It's great! I'd have to agree that it's probably more applicable for those who have already experienced middle school...although I never understood people talking about how bad middle school was...I was probably just too freaking oblivious...oh, and I was hiding out in the library during recess because I was depressed that middle schools didn't ha This collection of snippets from graphic novel greats (Ariel Schrag & Daniel Clowes, to name two,) is making me laugh out loud during my lunch breaks. It's great! I'd have to agree that it's probably more applicable for those who have already experienced middle school...although I never understood people talking about how bad middle school was...I was probably just too freaking oblivious...oh, and I was hiding out in the library during recess because I was depressed that middle schools didn't have swingsets, ha!

  11. 4 out of 5

    H

    This was included as a humor book on my YA Lit syllabus. I am either humor challenged, or the trauma of middle school is still too fresh (30 or so years later). That said, though I didn't find many of the comis/cartoons FUNNY in this book, I did find them true. Recommended for kids who might not believe that they'll make it through middle school, but who might find comfort knowing others feel and/or felt the same way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sy Snootles

    Apparently it's hard to be a straight white able-bodied cis-gender preteen, who knew. This book wants you to believe it's "edgy" and matter-of-fact when in actuality it's mostly a superficial summary of what's so traumatizing about middle school. Kids who are merely awkward might find it relatable or enlightening, but anybody who has REAL reasons to feel like an outsider is going to feel even more left out for being excluded. So much wasted potential. I had hoped Ariel Schrag would know better.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    Most of the pieces in this felt too short, or incomplete somehow. There was one that made me cry because it was so sad.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Tuite

    Reading 2019 Book 104: Stuck in the Middle edited by Ariel Schrag Another graphic novel left over from #30booksin30days and #bannedbooksweek. This a compilation of 17 comics about what life is like in middle school. I read some of this on a day I was subbing in a middle school classroom. This book was hit and miss for me. Some of the comics were very well done, all with a very distinct style, and voice, great messages. Some of the comics were over the top and did not do anything for me as a reader. Reading 2019 Book 104: Stuck in the Middle edited by Ariel Schrag Another graphic novel left over from #30booksin30days and #bannedbooksweek. This a compilation of 17 comics about what life is like in middle school. I read some of this on a day I was subbing in a middle school classroom. This book was hit and miss for me. Some of the comics were very well done, all with a very distinct style, and voice, great messages. Some of the comics were over the top and did not do anything for me as a reader. I would like to get the opinions of my students on this book to see if they felt more connected to it than I did.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dominique

    This book was pretty good it was just hard reminding me of my hard time in middle school. For this reason I would recommend it to someone struggling in middle school or even high school. For me it just brought back bad memories.

  16. 4 out of 5

    B

    This really is a book for young prepubescents. Yes its filled with short stories about being in middle school and being young, but there is no adult commentary to make this the least bit entertaining for anyone who has outgrown puberty.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Connor

    A decent collection of stories about middle schoolers. Some really stood out, and some were middling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    The Reading Countess

    I struck upon this graphic novel collection of short stories quite by accident while taking my younger two sons book shopping at our neighborhood library. Perusing the YA section has become somewhat of a hobby for me, and when I saw Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an UNPLEASANT Age, I knew this was a book that would need to be stuck in my bag. I had ulterior motives, though. Yes, I wanted to read the book myself (who wouldn't want to be transported back to the time they felt the most I struck upon this graphic novel collection of short stories quite by accident while taking my younger two sons book shopping at our neighborhood library. Perusing the YA section has become somewhat of a hobby for me, and when I saw Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an UNPLEASANT Age, I knew this was a book that would need to be stuck in my bag. I had ulterior motives, though. Yes, I wanted to read the book myself (who wouldn't want to be transported back to the time they felt the most insecure?) But I knew by past experience that if I left the book lying surreptitiously around, that my tween son would pick it up and read it, also. He is in the throes of those most uncomfortable years now. This, coupled with his artistic ability to doodle almost anything into a comical fashion, I felt positive that we would find a readership times two for the book. As I began reading the anthology, I have to admit that I felt a sort of time warp happening to me. I could feel myself shrink in size as a flood of memories rushed over me (owning only one pair of Jordache jeans vs. the multitudes that the more affluent girls in my school owned being just one confession I will make). Tough topics are addressed, and I would not put this book in my classroom library. While I applaud the book and the dialogue it would likely stir, I do think my fifth grade readers are too young for some of the more mature content. Divorce, kissing, first dances, sleepaway camps, mean girls, pimples, sex ed. (complete with anatomically correct drawings), drug and tobacco use, and needing to fit in (and even not needing to fit in) are fodder for the seventeen amazingly talented cartoonists who contribute to the book. The fact that so many different artists participated in the collection make this graphic novel a teachable piece. Moving from short story to short story provides the reader with a challenge because each cartoonist has his/her own style. The reader must adjust reading rate and manner of reading depending upon the cartoonist's technique. Some artists draw sparse art and text, while others have a dense text and intricate artwork. Knowing how to navigate a graphic novel, believe it or not, can be tricky and must be explicitly taught. The various books exploding on the market recently discussing the why's and hows of graphic novels for teachers is proof that this can be a challenging text to navigate. I did love the overall message Stuck in the Middle provides to young and impressionable readers, and hope the book will provide a springboard for my own son and me to openly discuss some difficult topics. I believe books tackling real world problems should always be shared with readers before the reader finds him/herself in a similar situation. Learning from fiction is not quite as costly as learning in real life. Stuck in the Middle gets a thumbs up!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Skylar

    Stuck in the Middle edited by Ariel Schrag is a great, funny, yet sad book with 17 different personal, embarrassing, and true stories about Middle School written by about 17 different people. It is a short story/graphic novel that takes place either during the first day of middle school, a new school, a friend’s house, or the main character's own house. Each story has several characters who are embarrassed, being bullied, or falling “in love” for the first time. The funny and sad plots are easy Stuck in the Middle edited by Ariel Schrag is a great, funny, yet sad book with 17 different personal, embarrassing, and true stories about Middle School written by about 17 different people. It is a short story/graphic novel that takes place either during the first day of middle school, a new school, a friend’s house, or the main character's own house. Each story has several characters who are embarrassed, being bullied, or falling “in love” for the first time. The funny and sad plots are easy to relate to. One of my favorite story in the book is ”Plan on the #7 Bus” by Ariel Schrag. It is about two girls who made a plan to make their “friend” feel uncomfortable. They are on their way to her house on a bus, and they get so caught up in their mean conversations, that they miss their stop and go to another city. I feel that they get “bad karma” for being mean. In the end, one of the main characters makes a vow to herself that she will never be mean again in return for being safe, but she yells at her sister five minutes later. One of my least favorite stories in the book is “Anxiety” by Eric Enright. I don’t like it because it is very sad. It is about a kid who gets bullied at school and hurts himself so he can miss school. He pulls his braces out, throws up, and thinks about doing other more dangerous stuff. He is going to a therapist for the first time and spills out everything. Then, the therapist asks if he is anxious about his parents getting a divorce. He had never thought of that, one more thing to be anxious about. I recommend this book to people who like funny, sad, but relatable stories. But, only to people who are allowed to hear a few swear words and “teen topics”. You will learn a few tricks and keys to survive bullying, embarrassment, and general teen anxiety. I give it 4 stars! CAUTION: IF YOU DON’T READ THIS BOOK, YOU WON’T LEARN TRICKS AND KEYS TO SURVIVING MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! ;)

  20. 4 out of 5

    dara

    Stuck in the Middle is a mix of comics, varying in style but all centered around the conflicted period known as middle school. Apparently, it's a troublesome time for almost everyone. A few highlights were: "Snitch" by Tania Shrag, in which the author loses popularity for snitching; "Anxiety" by Eric Enright, in which a sixth grader is sent to therapy for his problems adjusting; "Tina Roti" by Cole Johnson, in which an unpopular girl transfers to a new middle school and remains unpopular; "Hit M Stuck in the Middle is a mix of comics, varying in style but all centered around the conflicted period known as middle school. Apparently, it's a troublesome time for almost everyone. A few highlights were: "Snitch" by Tania Shrag, in which the author loses popularity for snitching; "Anxiety" by Eric Enright, in which a sixth grader is sent to therapy for his problems adjusting; "Tina Roti" by Cole Johnson, in which an unpopular girl transfers to a new middle school and remains unpopular; "Hit Me" by Gabrielle Bell, in which an unpopular "smelly" kid with negligent parents gains some degree of popularity after defeating a bully; and "Never Go Home" by Robyn Chapman, a short depiction of an unhappy boy who finds romance under the bleachers at a school dance. Other than Daniel Clowes, I'm not all that familiar with the work of any of the other authors so I cannot attest to whether or not these stories are a good portrayel of their styles and abilities. It was, however, a rather enjoyable read, although not one which is likely to leave much of an impression in my own life. I did like the book's format and thought it was a nifty idea to use pictures of the authors as pre-teens in their short biographies at the end. I skimmed over a few reviews on GoodReads and noticed a few people found the subject matter too disturbing; however, the stories seemed fairly accurate--many of them being autobiographical in nature--and if anything, less disturbing than the actual experience of middle school. This book isn't likely to acquaint teens and pre-teens with any "evils" of the world with which they aren't already intimately familiar. One minor complaint I have is that the collection does seem to be a bit unbalanced in representation. Almost every story is from the perspective of the victimized students. Didn't any bullies grow up to write comics?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This book is an anthology of nonfiction short comics by seventeen established comics artists recounting some memory or story from their experiences in middle school/junior high. The visual styles are extremely varied, as are the stories and experiences. Because of this, some resonated with me way more than others. Mostly I breezed through, perhaps laughing a little at one or feeling a commiserating “yeah, I remember that” with another. But on the whole, I just didn’t emotionally connect. The stor This book is an anthology of nonfiction short comics by seventeen established comics artists recounting some memory or story from their experiences in middle school/junior high. The visual styles are extremely varied, as are the stories and experiences. Because of this, some resonated with me way more than others. Mostly I breezed through, perhaps laughing a little at one or feeling a commiserating “yeah, I remember that” with another. But on the whole, I just didn’t emotionally connect. The stories were often too short or too long, too “this is what happened” without any subtlety to make you care. It was almost as if the writers couldn’t emotionally connect with their former selves enough to convey their true feelings to the reader, and it felt detached and sterile. At least to me. It might be the medium. Some of the stories also suffered from a “yeah, but what’s your point?” lack of focus. It occurs to me perhaps that these comics artists aren’t used to doing short stories or short memoirs or nonfiction, and while I am not schooled in the methods of using comics to tell a story, I have extensive coursework and personal experience in composition, especially short stories and short memoirs. It would behove some of these people to take a creative writing class. I just didn’t care enough for most of them, and was relieved when the book was over. Perhaps that’s the point, but frankly, I’m hesitant to give this book that much credit. TL;DR – Comic anthology of short “memoirs” of middle school by 17 different comics artists. Some are better than others, some are entertaining, some are sad, and some are just boring. Might be worth having as a coffee table book or for middle schoolers struggling with “no one understands” turmoil, but this book didn’t deliver on the “make me care” emotional connection.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    The graphic novel Stuck In the Middle was a definite should read for everyone. When I first picked up this book I didn’t know what to expect but when I opened the first page I knew it would be an instant favorite. The book was about life in middle school and shows the sometimes sad realities of the middle school experience. One of my favorite things about the book is that it takes middle school and turns it into a funny but true story. I think that this story deserves a five star rating based o The graphic novel Stuck In the Middle was a definite should read for everyone. When I first picked up this book I didn’t know what to expect but when I opened the first page I knew it would be an instant favorite. The book was about life in middle school and shows the sometimes sad realities of the middle school experience. One of my favorite things about the book is that it takes middle school and turns it into a funny but true story. I think that this story deserves a five star rating based on the quality of the drawings and how the stories were written. Something that the book can improve on is that the comics should be longer so you can enjoy it for a longer time. A specific story that was one of my favorites was created by Joe Matt. It was about a kid and his brother who were in middle school. The older brother is with his friend and when the younger brother comes and asks him if he wanted to play catch, he said no and hurt his brother’s feelings. Later, the mother of the boys gets the older brother a thing of comics and he says, “I hate comics, they are worthless.” The boy really loved them but he didn’t want to let the mom know, so the mom “threw out” the rest of his comics. The boy threw a total fit and went crazy about it and it goes to show you how it is okay to share things with your parents. I really liked this one because it goes to show you how some kids keep a lot away from their parents instead of sharing personal things with them. Truly, this book was an amazing choice for G.D.J. and it is a should read for everyone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ang

    While it was interesting to see the different styles of the contributing artists, the mood throughout the book was definitely moody, angsty and kind of sad. The stories definitely reflect the unpleasantness of going through puberty, going to middle school and high school. It certainly brought back my own unpleasant memories of that time in my life. I would recommend it to older kids, not so much tweens and younger kids. Because it might give them the wrong impression of what they're going to face While it was interesting to see the different styles of the contributing artists, the mood throughout the book was definitely moody, angsty and kind of sad. The stories definitely reflect the unpleasantness of going through puberty, going to middle school and high school. It certainly brought back my own unpleasant memories of that time in my life. I would recommend it to older kids, not so much tweens and younger kids. Because it might give them the wrong impression of what they're going to face when starting middle school or high school. Simply because not everyone will have the same experiences, so I wouldn't want them to read this and start out with a bad impression. I think this book is more suited for those who are older, as this is more of a reflective book with reflective stories of past occurrences. The artworks are all different, some I really liked and others made me feel like I was seeing chaotic, neurotic doodles. But isn't that how our experiences sometimes feel like. Some we like and some make us feel like chaotic, neurotic doodles? Ha. I did like how some stories ended with an open ending, while others seems complete. It's like they're giving you the opportunity to imagine how that memory ended for them or how it might've ended for you (should you have had a similar experience). That I really liked. Overall, I recommend this graphic novel to others.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Stuck in the Middle is a book of seventeen comics by seventeen different artists/authors. The anthology focuses on stories about middle school angst: trying desperately to fit in, unrequited love, fair-weather friends, loneliness, weirdness, self-image, self-loathing, alien parents and teachers, alienation. The list goes on and on... who doesn't remember how torturous middle school was?! The stories vary widely from author to author, but for the most part reflects the American tweens' lifestyle Stuck in the Middle is a book of seventeen comics by seventeen different artists/authors. The anthology focuses on stories about middle school angst: trying desperately to fit in, unrequited love, fair-weather friends, loneliness, weirdness, self-image, self-loathing, alien parents and teachers, alienation. The list goes on and on... who doesn't remember how torturous middle school was?! The stories vary widely from author to author, but for the most part reflects the American tweens' lifestyle and middle school years. Stuck in the Middle was entertaining and also helpful to read. While I am glad to be done with middle school and all the drama that comes with it, it is also helpful to take a look back at how some others dealt with it and how I might be able to sympathize with their pain so that I might better serve the tweens that I'll be working with in my middle school. Granted, not all problems that middle schoolers or tweens are presented here, but it gives me an idea of different mindsets and experiences that tweens might have about school and teachers, and how I can better understand tweens.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Stuck in the Middle mixes well-known artists (Joe Matt, Daniel Clowes) with less-known artists, to talk about how much middle school stinks. Most but not all of the stories are (or feel) autobiographical. While the subject matter seems rather narrow-focused (though “middle school” can cover lots of agony), the selected artists had a nice array of style, from Clowes’ cold, almost-ugly style to Eric Enright’s blob figures and Cole Johnson’s big heads, and Robyn Chapman’s lack of backgrounds that r Stuck in the Middle mixes well-known artists (Joe Matt, Daniel Clowes) with less-known artists, to talk about how much middle school stinks. Most but not all of the stories are (or feel) autobiographical. While the subject matter seems rather narrow-focused (though “middle school” can cover lots of agony), the selected artists had a nice array of style, from Clowes’ cold, almost-ugly style to Eric Enright’s blob figures and Cole Johnson’s big heads, and Robyn Chapman’s lack of backgrounds that reminded me of Eisner’s later work. I especially liked Aaron Reiner’s uplifting story “Simple Machines” about how he turned his doodling into stage design, and Jim Hoover’s “A Relationship in Eight Pages” which is a clear example of why dating licenses should be handed out with drivers’ licenses. Editor Ariel Schrag does well by placing her extremely uncomfortable story “Shit” at the very end of the book, so people don’t get too hopeful after reading Reiner’s story. Middle school stories shouldn’t end happily.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Yarusso

    This book was tough for me as a mature reader, but I wanted to experience the evolution of comics in young adult literature as the genre has gained more support in the classroom as a way to pull reluctant readers into the wonderful world of literature. "Stuck in the Middle" is written and illustrated by different artists channeling their adolescent years (think age 10 - 15). For my purposes, I would be hesitant to just hand the whole book over to a student unless I knew the student very well. Wh This book was tough for me as a mature reader, but I wanted to experience the evolution of comics in young adult literature as the genre has gained more support in the classroom as a way to pull reluctant readers into the wonderful world of literature. "Stuck in the Middle" is written and illustrated by different artists channeling their adolescent years (think age 10 - 15). For my purposes, I would be hesitant to just hand the whole book over to a student unless I knew the student very well. While it addresses very real situations and dialogue that occurs on and off school campuses, it doesn't hep a student if you are not there to discuss the mature themes with him or her. In a classroom setting, it would be better for the teacher to select one or more that can be used during guided reading. This gives students a chance to think and express thoughts and feelings about the topic. (This book was part of a larger assignment for my certification course, and you will see reviews of more young adult literature in the next week.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I suppose I should have been tipped off by the word "unpleasant" in the subtitle, but I did not enjoy reading this book at all. I found some of the stories funny, but most I found agonizing and left disturbingly open-ended. Okay, I thought to myself. This is a book for those who need to know that they are not alone in their middle-school trials -- not a book for those who'd rather not relive them all over again. The 17 stories provide an interesting variety of cartooning styles, including some i I suppose I should have been tipped off by the word "unpleasant" in the subtitle, but I did not enjoy reading this book at all. I found some of the stories funny, but most I found agonizing and left disturbingly open-ended. Okay, I thought to myself. This is a book for those who need to know that they are not alone in their middle-school trials -- not a book for those who'd rather not relive them all over again. The 17 stories provide an interesting variety of cartooning styles, including some indie artists that you might not see often, so that's cool. There is some strong language and sexual material. The final story, by editor Ariel Schrag, did make me laugh out loud. The heroine is told not to poop in the houseboat toilet, but she has to, because to use the bathroom in the big house would be to let the entire family know what she's doing. Then, inevitably, the houseboat toilet won't flush properly. It only goes downhill from there.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This book features a variety of short comics. Each comic is different from the next due to the different author's drawing styles and perspectives on life, but the common thread is that all the stories focus on the angst-ridden period known as Middle School. I enjoyed the stories. You could really feel the pain, and it was a good feeling to know that almost EVERYONE had a miserable time in Middle School. It was also a nice sneak peek into a bunch of different author's styles, and now I know of se This book features a variety of short comics. Each comic is different from the next due to the different author's drawing styles and perspectives on life, but the common thread is that all the stories focus on the angst-ridden period known as Middle School. I enjoyed the stories. You could really feel the pain, and it was a good feeling to know that almost EVERYONE had a miserable time in Middle School. It was also a nice sneak peek into a bunch of different author's styles, and now I know of several that I would like to read more of. The big failing of the book, though, is that within the few pages each author had, much of the reader's time is spent trying to figure out who is who, and what's really going on. Also, they don't have much of a beginning or end, and most leave the reader hanging, wanting to know what happened. As a way to get a reader to want to read more by that author, it's pretty effective, but as a book unto itself, it makes for really frustrating reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    BCL Teen Librarians

    It took me until adulthood to realize it, but EVERYONE in middle school was as unsure of themselves, awkward and uncool as I was during that time - some were just better at putting on a pose. The "cool kids" also struggled with changing bodies, changing minds and a desperate need to feel accepted. "Stuck in the Middle" is for people like me who can look back on that rough two years and laugh at the experience, recognizing it as a painful but necessary rite of passage. 17 comic artists submit rea It took me until adulthood to realize it, but EVERYONE in middle school was as unsure of themselves, awkward and uncool as I was during that time - some were just better at putting on a pose. The "cool kids" also struggled with changing bodies, changing minds and a desperate need to feel accepted. "Stuck in the Middle" is for people like me who can look back on that rough two years and laugh at the experience, recognizing it as a painful but necessary rite of passage. 17 comic artists submit real or semi-real stories about the trials and tribulations of those years - gossip, clothes, "dating," bullying, parents and the Disco Prairie Rebellion of '81. Any middle school survivor should find something to relate to in here. The wide variety of art and storytelling styles help give each a unique voice. For those who are still there, I can only promise that it gets better! --Ian

  30. 4 out of 5

    Raina

    Ariel Schrag is known for her no-holds-barred, no-such-thing-as-too-much-information graphic memoirs which chronicle her teen years. Here, she collects comics from sixteen cartoonists, each riffing on the theme of middle school life. The entries range from camp stories to bus tales to fantastical accounts of prank-playing mascots. Most include elements of romance, fashion and much friend-drama. The artistic styles of the pieces demonstrate the wide variety of indie comics currently available. Co Ariel Schrag is known for her no-holds-barred, no-such-thing-as-too-much-information graphic memoirs which chronicle her teen years. Here, she collects comics from sixteen cartoonists, each riffing on the theme of middle school life. The entries range from camp stories to bus tales to fantastical accounts of prank-playing mascots. Most include elements of romance, fashion and much friend-drama. The artistic styles of the pieces demonstrate the wide variety of indie comics currently available. Content-wise, the entries range wildly. Many take an uncensored, candid approach to portraying the realities of middle school. This is an enjoyable, wide-ranging collection which will appeal to everyone from upper-elementary students through adult comic enthusiasts. But maybe one that will be hidden from parents.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.