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about the book

awkward graphic novel


Misfit Penelope “Peppi” Torres has a problem with social anxiety. She never quite fits in anywhere. To cope with being the new kid in town and at Berrybrook Middle School, she has come up with two very strict rules: (1) Do not draw the attention of mean kids; and (2) Seek out friends with similar interests.

She breaks the first rule almost immediately on her first day there. She fumbles and trips, scattering her belongings all over the hallway. Right in front of the mean kids, nerdy Jaime Thompson stops to help her pick up her jumbled things. The meanies hoot and holler, calling out “nerder girlfriend!” Embarrassed and flustered, Peppi shoves poor Jaime away and makes a run for it! For weeks, Jaime ends up getting bullied over the incident, leaving him with lots of hurt feelings and Peppi feeling mighty guilty.

Things are really awkward between the two of them. She tries to come up with an apology but the timing is never quite right. Then she discovers he is a member of the school’s science club, while she has just joined the art club. Since the principal has pitted the two groups against each other over table space at the annual school fair, and one of the clubs may be cancelled, the rivalry between the two groups escalates making her apology even more mortifying.

As the feuding gets nasty, can the two awkward kids resolve their differences and come up with a creative solution that allows both clubs to work together peacefully?


about the author/illustrator

svetlana chmakova


Svetlana Chmakova (pronounced Chez-mak-a-va) was born and raised in Russia. At the age of sixteen, she and her family immigrated to Canada, where she attended Sheridan College and graduated with a Classical Animation Diploma.

Somehow, she accidentally stumbled into a full-time job as an artist and a writer! She has worked on role-playing game manuals, toy designs, how-to-draw manga books, and animations. She is best known for her comics and manga. Some people think of manga as being exclusively a Japanese art, but it is a style that has been adapted all around the world. Svetlana studied the many tropes and themes found in manga and then made it her own unique thing (especially her witty side panels).

Her first romantic comedy series was Adventures of Cosmo Girl, which led to the very popular Dramacon, which was nominated for the prestigious Eisner award. It was followed by the award-winning urban fantasy Nightschool: The Weirn Books and the webcomic Chasing Rainbows.

Svetlana then took a break to adapt the New York bestselling Witch & Wizard tale, written by famed author James Patterson, into a graphic novel.

Fans were glad when she returned to writing and illustrating her own stories, and the middle grade comedy graphic novel series called Awkward has been honored as one of the Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2015 by the School Library Journal.

Now the author of ten books translated into fourteen languages, she “makes her home somewhere between Toronto, Canada, and California. Her hobbies include eating, sleeping, buying far more books than she has shelf space, and riding the subway in the middle of the day, when it’s half-empty, half-full of Very Interesting People.”

Book page and author bio: Amazon
Audio Name Pronunciation: Teaching Books
Article on author: The Artifice

Also by Svetlana Chmakova:
Brave. Yen Press. 2016.


read more!


Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
For Jenson, math is hard. And so is getting along with friends, which makes finding a partner for the class project a big problem. Then Jenny and Akilah bring him into the chaos of school news and behind-the-scenes drama. Will Jenson be able to handle the added pressure? He’s so used to taking things one at a time that this level of multi-tasking might be his undoing…




Secret Coders (Book 1) by Gene Luen Yang
Hopper’s new school is awful, full of mean kids, a scary principal, robotic birds, and leafless trees. For some creepy reason, the walls are covered with the number nine. Determined to figure out why Stately Academy is so strange, Hopper and her friend Eni become secret coders, learning simple computer programming in order to figure out the mystery.