Book Review: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Graphic Novel

Age Recommended: 11 and up

This book was very comical and beautifully explained the pain of orthodontia and the experiences associated with it- both good and bad. This book is also based on the author’s own experiences and I am surprised that someone’s life could be so eventful in (judging by number of orthodontic procedures Raina Telgemeier had to go through.)

This book also fit my 2015 Reading Challenge category of: “A book set in high school.”



Raina Telgemeier is a seventh grader who doesn’t really fit the ideal definition of “cool” and when she is running outside after a Girl Scout meeting, she trips and breaks her two front teeth. Raina visits an orthodontist who informs her that they must perform surgery as one of her permanent teeth has fallen out from the fall but her other tooth has actually been pushed up into her mouth.

When Raina has the surgery performed, she is not given the proper amount of anesthesia which leads to her feeling immense pain. She also has to get headgear to fix her teeth and goes through a deep gum cleaning which leaves her gums inflamed and swollen.

Later, Raina develops a crush on a boy in sixth grade. She doesn’t know however, that he is a sixth grader and when she tells her friend that she likes this boy, her friend then makes fun of her and tells the whole school that Raina likes a sixth grader. Raina eventually gets her headgear off but has to get braces and a retainer to push her teeth together so that the gap of the two missing teeth is no longer visible. Raina’s friends also make fun of her for having braces and “fake teeth” to cover up the gap in her mouth.

All is going well until Raina develops a crush on Sean, a kid in their grade, and realizes that she no longer likes the sixth grader. The sixth grader is heartbroken while Sean has no idea that Raina likes him.

Will Raina get the courage to tell Sean she likes him? Will she learn to stand up for herself?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Smile


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