Young Adult Literature Review: Truly Tyler by Terri Libenson

TRULY Tyler is the latest installment in Terri Libenson’s mid-level graphic fiction novel series, Emmie & Friends.

Each book focuses on a character that can be found in other parts of the series, including the protagonist of the first book in the series Invisible Emmie, and Becoming’s best friend Brianna the book before this one.

The books’ messages vary depending on the character and their individual struggles and passions, but within each of them there is an overwhelming and warm message about the value of being yourself, learning who it is and what it is. ’embrace every flaw and quirk that comes with it. This latest book is no different, addressing identity in relation to friendships and hobbies.

The book is based on Tyler’s return to school after winter break, mostly excited about two aspects of his day-to-day school life – basketball, which is nothing new is as well as he met all his closet friends; and his new love, art.

His basketball team doesn’t fully understand the passion he brings to the comic book contest he’s working on with his new friend Emmie. This conflict between art and sport begs the question of whether someone can enjoy both without sacrificing one for the other or even the friendships made through them.

While this theme isn’t entirely new, it’s a theme I’m happy to see introduced to a whole new generation, letting them know that personal identity isn’t defined by just one thing.

Part of the book is placed from the perspective of Emmie, an interesting and easily likeable character who always has a sketchbook on hand when inspiration strikes. She develops a crush on Tyler as they team up on their latest art class project.

The task is also a school competition that challenges them to create a compelling and creative story through the medium of comics, a story in which Emmie has some experience, demonstrated by the change in artistic style in her sections for a more traditional paneled look.

As the two reflect and grow closer, Tyler also prepares for an upcoming big basketball game and begins to find that in order to do one to the best of his ability, compromises have to be made with the other.

It adds a layer of excitement to what is otherwise an extremely character-driven story and allows you to read and encourage Tyler and Emmie to be successful in all of their endeavors.

It’s a heartwarming and important story about being truly told to yourself in a style that can speak to 12 to 14 year olds and the issues they may face without ever sounding like one. adult trying to convey a higher moral message. Instead, the characters feel like peers who can be talked to or who can be relied on. I would definitely recommend this and the rest of the series to young readers.


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