Goodreads: All’s Faire in Middle School
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?
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.