Get This Book: Sunny Side Up

[image: Light blue book cover
with Sunny Side Up in white text
above an illustration of a blonde
little girl in a pink bathing suit
lying on a pool raft.]
The kids and I are long-time fans of Jennifer and Matt Holm's graphic novels Babymouse and Squish. So we are extra-excited about their new non-Babymouse, non-Squish graphic novel Sunny Side Up, about a ten-year-old girl, Sunny, whose planned idyllic friends-filled summer is upended when she suddenly and without explanation goes instead to stay with her grandfather in a Florida retirement community.

Sunny Side Up is full of the characteristic Holm humor -- with bonus alligators (it does take place in Florida). I actually read it when my kids and I were staying with their own grandparent -- my mother (though she lives in a condo, not a colony). I laughed quite a few times when I read it, as did Mali (who read it several times), and even my mom snorted at several passages, and wondered aloud how the author captured those humorous aspects of retirement culture so well.

But the book is more than humorous. Sunny's simmering bewilderment eventually reveals much more about the complexities and often undiscussed aspects of being a younger sibling to a teen. (To tell you more would be spoiling the ending.) But this is YA territory,  framed thoughtfully and gently for younger kids in similar situations, so they can hopefully better understand their own complex lives, and feel less alone.

But enough about my opinion -- I'm not the target audience. Here's  Mali's review of the book*.


"So, this is Jennifer Holm’s new book, she’s in collaboration with her brother Matthew Holm like she always is for everything. Jennifer L. Holm writes the story and Matthew Holm does the art.

"So this story is about a girl who has been shipped off to Florida to spend time with her grandfather, but she doesn’t know why, and the whole story is about her understanding why she was shipped off to Florida instead of going to a beach house in the Bahamas with her best friend.

"Two things I like about this book is …[1)] it was written by Jennifer Holm. and she’s one of my favorite authors, and 2) is it might help people with something that’s at the end … I won’t spoil it …

"And so the reason I think people should read this book is because it’s a great story, and it will help people if they read it, and if they’re in an alien state or country and they need to try to fit in or something … they can learn to be themselves."


*Disclosure: Mali is bosom buddies with Jenni's eldest. The first version of this video review recommended that you get the book because her friend's mom wrote it. But we read, and I wrote glowing reviews, of Jenni's books before we even met her.

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