[quote]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 one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp.
Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares![/quote]
[note note_color=”#BFD1D1″ text_color=”#ffffff”]I received this book for free from First Second (Macmillan) for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.[/note]
First sentence: “The Prince is holding a ball!!”
If you want to make friends, you gotta be willing to sacrifice yourself and prepare yourself. We’ve been that kid who had trouble making friends because they were different—racially, culturally, financially. We just wanted to fit in—no matter what needed to be done.
In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in. She doesn’t want to be the weird Russian girl who can’t afford luxuries that the other girls at her school can afford. When she finds out there’s a Russian summer camp, Vera jumps on the chance to finally make friends with people who are like her. However, camp is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
LESSONS YOU LEARN ABOUT MAKING FRIENDS IN BE PREPARED
- Meet different types of people.
There are lots of people who can be your friend. You just gotta meet them. For Vera, she has classmates who she wants to be friends with. They all go to the same school and share the same classes, why can’t she become friends with them? When she goes to Russian camp, she thought she found a place with people who can understand her and her experiences because y’know, they’re all Russian like her. These worlds are far different from what she expects them to be.
Bond over similar interests.
What do you do to get closer to others? You bond over common interests!
Vera sees these girls getting along with their dolls and whatnots, and she wants to be apart of that. She tries to become their friends by pretending to like things they like and have things that her family can’t actually afford. In her Russian camp, Vera assumes she’ll easily make friends there because everybody is like her—Russian—but she learns that no, being Russian because other campers are Russian isn’t a sure way to make friends. These girls that she interacts with are older than her and have different priorities. I like how everything that Vera attempts to do to make friends is what I, and everybody else, have experienced.
- Don’t bribe potential friends.
You want these potential friends to like you, so you talk up what you don’t have or you give them things. Vera does this because she really wants these girls to like her. She starts giving them candy—even though it’s not allowed in camp—and she starts drawing pictures for them. When you’re trying to get friends, you do whatever you can, even if it means letting them take advantage of you. It’s what everybody will experience, and I love that Vera had Camp leader Natasha, who served as a wise advisor in what not to do to gain friends.
- Don’t force it.
Friendships start unexpectedly. Let it blossom naturally.
Vera realized that she can’t force these girls to like her and lets go of that goal, and just hang out and have fun, even if it’s on her own. She embraces who she is.
Who will love this graphic novel? Readers who gorgeous art (it’s frickin’ amazing!). People who want to read a relatable experience of a girl trying to make friends. People who want to see a girl trying to deal with her culture. People who want to see this wacky Camp experience.
Why you should read Be Prepared? We’ve all been that kid who had trouble making friends some time in our lives. Be Prepared explores how Vera tries to make friends and fit in with kids who aren’t like her—due to the differences in their social economic situations or cultural background.
[note note_color=”#f29d8e” text_color=”#ffffff”]Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
February 13, 2018 • First Second (Macmillan)