Truly Tyler by Terri Libenson

Truly Tyler by Terri Libenson


Goodreads: Truly Tyler
Series: Emmie & Friends #5
Source: Library
Published: 2021

Official Summary

Cliques. Crushes. Comics. Middle school.

Ever since Tyler started getting into art and hanging out with Emmie, his friends and teammates have been giving him a hard time. He wonders why can’t he nerd out on drawing and play ball?

Emmie is psyched that she gets to work on a comics project with her crush, Tyler. But she gets the feeling that his friends don’t think she’s cool enough. Maybe it’s time for a total reinvention.

Star Divider


Truly Tyler is an exciting installment in the Emmie & Friends series as it is the first to represent the point of view of a male character–and, of course, that character just happens to be Emmie’s long-time crush Tyler. Tyler’s and Emmie’s stories intertwine as Tyler tries to balance his love of basketball with his desire to spend more time on art, and Emmie begins to wonder if she’s “cool” enough to be Tyler’s girlfriend. Plenty of mishaps and misunderstandings happen along the way. However, both ultimately find the courage to be themselves, regardless of what others thing. Another feel-good story with a positive message from Terri Libenson.

Much of the appeal of the Emmie & Friends books is, no doubt, its accessible style. The books are often shelved with the graphic novels, but they are more text-heavy than most, and do not include panels. Rather, the books are diary-like in nature, with handwriting-ish text paired with doodle illustrations. This gives the books a fun air, as if one is actually reading the journals of the characters, and can get inside their heads as they deal with the trials and tribulations of middle school. It is a great way for tweens to read more, without realizing they are doing so!

Also fun is how each book focuses on a different character, so readers can see over the progression of the series, how their lives intersect. Each protagonist sees themselves as the hero of their own story, with the others being relegated to side characters. So it is interesting as a reader to see how Brianna, for example, merely appears in Emmie’s stories to offer advice or hang out as friends, while, in Brianna’s stories, she is dealing with her own inner turmoil that her friends might not fully see or appreciate. Tyler’s story will be especially appealing to fans of the books since they will know Emmie has a huge crush on him. But, up until now, readers have not really known how Tyler feels about Emmie.

Truly Tyler sticks to the formula of the previous books, showing how one character struggles to fit in, but ultimately chooses friends who will accept him as he is. So far all the books have been engaging and heartwarming, so it makes sense for this new installment to continue doing what has worked so well. I truly enjoyed Truly Tyler and I cannot wait for another book in the series!

4 stars

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