Be Prepared

By Vera Brosgol,

Book cover of Be Prepared

Book description

All Vera wants to do is fit in - but that's not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera's single mother can't afford that sort of luxury, but there's…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Be Prepared as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This humorous and heartfelt graphic memoir is about Vera going to a Russian summer camp—an opportunity to fit in with other kids, especially since the American girls from school go to summer camp. I love this story because wanting to fit in such a universal experience, yet Vera’s experience is unique in many ways. Plus, I love a good summer camp story. After begging her mom to let her go, Vera ends up hating camp, but she sticks it out, makes real friends, and learns so much about herself. 

This is a memoir about wanting desperately to fit in. Vera feels lonely at school where she feels at odds with the other girls: she is Russian, and not as affluent as her peers. She begs to go to Russian camp where she is sure she’ll finally make friends. But camp turns out to be quite different from the fantasy she was imagining. 

The depiction of camp, of the campers and counselors, of the various activities, it is all so delightful, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant. Vera’s personality won me over: she is a tough young girl who, in spite of…

From Sylvie's list on kids you’d want to be friends with.

Have you ever struggled to fit in? I’m not sure anyone is better at capturing this than the talented Vera Brosgol. This is a funny, honest, semi-autobiographical graphic novel about a young Vera navigating a particularly difficult Summer. I like stories that help me explore a different perspective, in this case - growing up Russian-American. This middle-grade book is funny and relatable, all while exploring the value of true friendship.

From Scott's list on navigating friendships and family.

This book is about a kid who goes to sleep away camp for the first time with the intention to make friends and be closer to her culture. However, things don’t go so well. 

Vera Brosgol is a fantastic storyteller mastering facial expressions and acting. Her environments, as well, are rich and specific to the region where the story takes place. And yet they never out-stage the characters. 

On a separate note, I appreciate Vera Brosgol deliberately putting Russian signage and having some dialogues in Russian, as it shows the two linguistic worlds in which she lives.

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