Bermudez, Alyssa

Big Apple Diaries

(2) 4-6 Bermudez mined her middle-school diaries to create this appealing debut graphic memoir set in NYC just before and after 9/11. Twelve-year-old Alyssa splits her time between her Puerto Rican dad's apartment in Manhattan and her Italian American mom's place in Queens. While her seventh-grade year at St. Ignatius is full of universally relatable middle-school drama (a painful first crush, multiple friendship conflicts, and a cosmetic malfunction--she accidentally shaves off too much of her eyebrows), Alyssa is also a quintessential New Yorker who rides the subway on her own and takes weekend art lessons at the Met. Then her bustling city life is shaken by the 9/11 attack, which takes place at the start of her eighth-grade year. Though she doesn't suffer a direct loss from the ­tragedy--although her father worked in the World Trade Center, he was not in the building that day--Alyssa's ideas about herself and the future are upended. The cool blue limited palette of the panels underscores the moodiness of the middle-school years and serves as an effective backdrop to the apple-cheeked and open-faced depictions of Alyssa and her friends and family. Fans of Craft's New Kid (rev. 1/19), Telgemeier's Smile, and Hale's Real Friends (rev. 5/17) will find much to love here.


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