All’s Faire in Middle School
by Victoria Jamieson
For those who didn’t know, I work at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, helping a friend of mine sell leather masks (and other leather goods). Throughout the year, I actually get to help her make them, including stitching the codpieces we sell at the Fair. So when I learned about this graphic novel set at a Renaissance Festival, I knew I had to grab it. I worked Labor Day Monday at Fair, so I popped over to the Fair’s bookshop, Page After Page, and picked up the book. (They even remembered I’d asked about the book over the summer to make sure they were going to carry it!)
Once I recovered from the heat and humidity at Fair on Monday, I cracked this book open and fell into it. It’s set at the Florida Ren Faire, and it captures the spirit of Rennies and the festival very, very well. One of my favorite parts was when Imogene announced she was going to middle school, and all the adults around her reply with variations of “MIDDLE SCHOOL SUCKED.” Imogene asks “Aren’t adults supposed to encourage kids to go to school?” and her dad replies “You got the wrong kind of adults, kid.” Oh, Rennies. There are D&D games, and thrift stores, and going to the store in garb, and speaking in accents while doing normal mundane things – yeah. This is a book about Rennies, alright.
I was a little disappointed in the adults not understanding the kind of pressure Imogene was under as the new girl at school. They all commiserated with middle school sucking, but didn’t give Imogene any slack for it, and in a couple of cases dismissed how important things were to her.
I loved seeing her go from school to Fair, and seeing the different environments contrasted. The art style is great. Each chapter begins with a page illustrated like a medieval manuscript, and a paragraph written like an epic story. “After months of preparations, including but not limited to careful outfit selection and triple-checking of school supplies, young Imogene is ready to embark on her journey into the Great Unknown. Like all explorers before her, our heroine has only one thought on her mind….”
I really loved this book. It would make a great gift for any kid headed to middle school who loves Ren Faires. (Or Rennie parents!)
From the cover of All’s Faire in Middle School:
Growing up with parents who work at the Renaissance Faire, Imogene has always been sure of who she is: a brave and noble knight. But now, after being homeschooled her whole life, she is about to embark on the epic adventure of . . . middle school!
Imogene will quickly discover that in real life there aren’t always clear-cut heroes and villains like there were at the Faire. How will she find her place (and new friends) in this strange and complicated land?