Top critical review
Not age appropriate for kids on the younger spectrum of this age group (ages 8-12)
Reviewed in the United States on January 27, 2017
My eight year old son read this and I stupidly did not read it first because it was in his age group and in a short skim it seemed fine and it won a Will Eisner award. However, I heard him reading it out loud to his sister and realized it is completely not age appropriate for him. It turns out the Eisner award was for teens even though the age range for the book is noted as 8-12 (grades 3-7).
The book introduced my son to the idea that you need to have your first kiss when you are 13, that girls need to shave their legs, to the game spin the bottle, the girls need a makeover if they are going to get boys to kiss them, to the phrase "have the hots" for someone, and to the idea that you should feel insecure about yourself based on how you look but then if you fix whatever is causing you to feel insecure (like your teeth) in the end it will be better and you can be happy. All of this might be fine for someone who was already experiencing these things (I guess, although the book sort of normalizes these things and does not offer alternative frames for thinking about these issues or question them), but for an eight year old who was blissfully unaware of all of this, the book is not helpful.
I try to encourage my kids to read age appropriate books, yet at the same time try not to censor them. My son I think was mostly drawn to the comic book format, but after we talked about it he agreed that it would be fine to find other books with similarly cool pictures where the themes are more age appropriate. I am simply writing this in case it helps another parent to judge whether or not this makes sense for your child's context, age, and maturity. I'm not sure I'd love this book for an older child, but certainly not a child in elementary school.