A review by Emma Streeton
Natalie has never felt that she’s enough (Nat Enough) – athletic enough, stylish enough, or talented enough. And on the first day of middle school, Natalie discovers that things are worse than she thought – now she’s not even cool enough for her best friend, Lily. As Natalie tries to get her best friend back, she learns more about her true self and natural talents. If Natalie can focus on who she is rather than who she isn’t, then she might realise she’s more than enough, just the way she is.
This was the first graphic novel I have sat down and read with my bookworms. I have never been drawn to comics so I was keen to see how my youngsters would respond. It became obvious very quickly that they loved the numerous illustrations and the way the story moved across the pages. The playful images did a great job of bringing the story to life. My girls loved pouring over the pictures and pointing out bits the other may have missed. I must admit, I too found the pictures fun to look at.
The story centers around friendship, exploring what true friendship is and how it is important to be yourself. The main character Natalie has a lot to learn about being herself and finding true friends. She finds herself effectively dumped by her long term best friend Lily for not being cool enough. Natalie struggles to see Lily’s behavior as unkind, becomes obsessed with winning her old friend back. And, by doing so, almost fails to notice the kind new friends she has around her.
Although my bookworms are still quite young, we have already dealt with a fair share of friendship dramas. This book was a great talking point about what a healthy friendship is and how we should treat friends. And, most importantly, staying true to who you are and not changing yourself for the sake of others. My 8-year-old was able to identify times when she has felt sad like Natalie for thinking she is not good enough at something. These are hard conversations for little people to raise with us grown-ups so how fabulous it was to have a book take the lead in opening up these harder lines of communication.
Overall, Nat Enough is a fun, refreshing and enjoyable read and a great introduction to the comic strip layout for my two eager readers. The topic and themes covered are particularly relevant for upper primary aged girls where the school environment is not always an easy place to be. Bookworm rating – 4 out of 5 stars.
Bookworm rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Category: Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Comedy and Humor