Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? Or as if you always seem to both say and do the wrong thing? Maybe you’ve even managed to make a complete fool of yourself!
In the graphic novel Awkward, we follow a teenage girl named Penelope, Peppi for short, who has transferred to Berrybrook Middle School.
Just as most teenagers, she is awkward, clumsy and a bit insecure, and as a result, she is faced with a set of challenges throughout the book.
The novel, both written and illustrated by Svetlana Chmakova, was published in July 2015, and paints an authentic picture of what it’s like being an awkward teenager today.
Awkward - the perfect guide on how to survive school
Point of view
The events are set in an American middle school named Berrybrook Middle School, in modern time. We can, among other things, tell that the story probably is from an American school because it has school clubs, and from modern times because of their clothes.
Penelope is for example wearing a hoodie on page 190. Another indication is the technology in the novel. On page 191, Penelope is working on her computer, and on page 190, the science club shows off the solar plane they have created.
The exact events in the text are typically American, and would not have taken place in Norway, since we don’t have school clubs.
However, being nervous and insecure when transferring to a new school, like Penelope does in the beginning of the text, or just while being put in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable setting, is universal.
On page eight, Penelope tries to tell her friends about how she feels guilty for acting rudely towards Jamie by saying “It’s been weeks but I am sorry!! [...] It haunts me.
I was such a jerk!” The feeling of remorse and self-loathing, knowing that you’ve treated someone poorly, is also something most people have experienced at one point, and can relate to. The book is full of relatable themes like these.