Review: Just Pretend

Title: Just Pretend
Author: Tori Sharp
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce. 

Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.

Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.


Seventh grader Tori lives with her mom and her older twin siblings, and she visits her dad on weekends. Her parents treat her as a little kid, even though she’s growing up. At school, she struggles with making new friends and keeping her old ones. When they begin to bond over their love of writing or their friendships, something comes between them. Tori continues to write her own story while she tries to cope with the rest of her life.

In this graphic novel, Tori has to deal with many issues of growing up. She had problems at home, with juggling the two homes of her parents, as well as older siblings who liked to tease and bully her. She also had problems at school with her friends and her school work. The middle school years are filled with emotional relationships. Between her family and friends, Tori had to figure out many relationship dynamics that come with growing up.

I could relate to Tori in this story. Tori tried to write a story with her best friend, and I did the same thing in middle school. My friends got bored with writing after a while, like Tori’s did, but writing is still my passion. I could relate to the way Tori got lost in her fantasy world. I think other young artists will be able to relate to Tori as well.

Just Pretend is a great middle grade graphic novel!

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Have you read Just Pretend? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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