Have you ever felt like you really just don’t fit in? I’m pretty sure that Natalie could relate to you. In the graphic novel Nat Enough, author Maria Scrivan tells the story of one girl trying to survive middle school without her best friend who ditched her for the “cooler” group. Through the ups and downs and highs and lows of middle school, Natalie recognizes the talents that she has instead of looking at what she cannot do.
I really liked the fact that most of the stuff that Natalie goes through are real life friendship problems that people can relate to. In Nat Enough Natalie and Lily have been best friends since they were in 2nd grade, but Natalie didn’t seem to notice that Lily wasn’t really her friend. Having that be a theme all throughout the book really takes the sugarcoat off of the friendship problems that Natalie is experiencing. That detail for me felt very important and helped bring a depth to the book. I also thought it was interesting how determined Natalie was to get her best friend back. Even though readers may be able to tell that Lily honestly doesn’t care, the shock and hurt that Natalie goes through is pretty similar to how anybody else might take it. The way that Lily bullied Natalie was pretty realistic. All the time, Natalie would find notes on her locker that said “Nerd!” and “Loser!” Talk about rude! Natalie does end up finding some true friends in the midst of everything. Her new friends Zoe and Flo helped her recognize all of these talents that she had. Because of their encouragement, Natalie really learns to shine.
But what is a good book about middle school without crushes and drama! I enjoyed reading about Natalie’s little (but actually really, really big,) crush on a character named Derek. Seeing Natalie lovesick and swoony was funny and made the book a little lighter so all the stuff that was happening with Lily wasn’t so intense. A part that I thought helped the plot was Natalie’s ALP classes. It was like a gifted and talented class, which you don’t usually see in graphic novels. That detail about her academics was a good way to let the book flow, especially when it came to parts with Derek, who was also in the ALP class. I loved Natalie’s comic that she made in her English class, which was based off of when she had to do a Jello- frog dissection in Science. I felt like that helped her recognize the talents that she had instead of just having Lily criticize her about what she can’t do. Even though Lily criticized Natalie a lot, I notice that Natalie seemed to be her own biggest critic. The way that she thought of herself (not athletic enough, not stylish enough, not talented enough,) seemed to affect her the entire book.
Even though the book was good, there were some parts I didn’t like. I felt like the other character, Shawn Dreary, that bullied her was a little unnecessary. Natalie was already going through all this hard stuff with Lily, I honestly don’t think she needed another thing slid onto her plate. The graphics in the book were okay, though it looked like it was water-colored, which I didn’t really like. The plot of her story was a little too realistic which made it boring. The drawings were kind of basic for a graphic novel. Because of these flaws, I didn’t really like the book as much as I thought I would. I would recommend it for 4th grade and up, just because some stuff wouldn’t make sense. Overall, I would give the book 2 out of 4 stars.