All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Information

Goodreads: All’s Faire in Middle School
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: 2017

Summary

Imogene is ready to become a squire at the Renaissance Faire where her mother runs a shop and her father always plays the villain.  But first she has to prove her bravery by going on the ultimate quest–middle school.  Unfortunately, middle school is more difficult than Imogene imagined.  Mean girls, scary teachers, potential love interests–it’s all too much.  Will Imogene find her way through?

Review

All’s Faire in Middle School is a sympathetic look at how it feels to enter a new school and attempt to navigate the unspoken rules.  Imogene has spent her whole life being homeschooled while her parents work the Renaissance Faire.  So mean girls, scary science teachers, and age-appropriate crushes are all new to her.  Victoria Jamieson, however, does not make Imogene a victim.  Rather, she shows how one girl attempts to survive middle school, but makes mistakes along the way.  Her willingness to allow her heroines to be flawed makes All’s Faire in Middle School both moving and realistic.

Any lover of the Renaissance Faire is sure to fall in love with this book.  A colorful cast of characters fills its pages as Imogene trains on the weekends to become a squire, but struggles during the weekdays to get through school.  Nods to the mud pit, the well wenches, and the turkey legs will surely amuse any Faire goer.  Even better is the banter that fills the pages; Imogene is surrounded by actors who love what they do and just want to give everyone a good time.  Their love and support grounds both Imogene and the book.

However, even those who do not eagerly await the opening of the Faire each year will find a thoughtful story within the pages of All’s Faire in Middle School.  Imogene tries to imagine how a brave squire would defeat the ogres and trolls that walk the halls, but all the rules confuse her.  Why are mean girls popular?  Why does she get mocked both for not fitting in and for trying to fit in?  Why is she allowed to talk to some people outside of school but not inside?  All the contradictions begin to take their toll, until Imogene starts to lose her sense of right and wrong in an effort to have the others accept her.  And yet, Imogene is still lovable.  She just needs a little push in the right direction.

All’s Faire in Middle School brings to life all the confusions and struggles of middle school.  It can be a rough time, and Jamieson acknowledges that.  This is a book both for those still trying to survive middle school and for those who look back on their time and shudder a little.  But, ultimately, it is a hopeful book–one that says families and friendships can always help you through.

5 stars

10 thoughts on “All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    What a wonderful sounding book! I appreciate stories like this which tell important stories to middle schoolers, share strong messages/themes, but also share something exciting and new! I certainly didn’t know about Ren Faires when I was in middle school. I still haven’t been to one, actually. I appreciate that we get to see Imogene’s “dual” life.

    Does homeschooling get explored in this book at all? I’m trying to find some stories for my nephew which feature kids joining a school after being homeschooled. This might be a great introduction for him! Any other suggestions are welcome.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I read this awhile ago, so don’t remember all the homeschooling bits, but I think she mostly mentions feeling jealous that her brother still gets to homeschool and hang out at the Ren Faire. There isn’t much actual homeschooling shown.

      Now that you mention it, it’s difficult for me to think of any other books that feature homeschooling at all…. Maybe other readers can chime in here!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Samantha Duffy says:

    This actually brought tears to my eyes! I could relate so much with Imogene in feeling completely and utterly alone (when everyone was mad at her). So far, I really LOVE Jamieson’s books (even more so than Reina Telgemeier *GASP*) I think that she has an awesome, and quirky set of books, that are still relatable while also introducing different things to the reader. I honestly cannot wait for more things from her. I think she is going do some really great things for graphic novels in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I like Jamieson’s works more than Telgemeier’s too, to be honest. Sisters and Smile really didn’t resonate with me for whatever reason, though I liked Ghosts. Drama was maybe too dramatic. It was like a middle school soap opera. But Jamieson’s works feel like the author still gets what it’s like to be in middle school. They’re real. And I love the focus on unusual things like roller derby and Ren Faire!

      Liked by 1 person

      • danielle says:

        I totally agree – Ghosts is the only Telgemeier that stood out to me. But I LOVE this book – especially the hard won ending 😭😍☺️

        Liked by 1 person

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