Review: Guts by Raina Telgemeier

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Guts by Raina TelgemeierGuts by Raina Telgemeier
Series: Smile #3
Published by Graphix on September 17, 2019
Pages: 213
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts!

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face -- and conquer -- her fears.

As a bookseller, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Raina Telgemeier from the droves of kids who come in asking for her books. Guts was the first book of hers that I’ve read – and it certainly won’t be the last.

Guts was so ridiculously relatable, I just can’t even… Reading it was like an emotional rollercoaster. I swear, Raina was telling my story, not her own. I found myself nodding in agreement a lot… And also crying a lot. Very early in the beginning, Raina described herself as being a “Nervous kid. Self-conscious. Shy. Quiet… Most of the time” – the “most of the time” being the moments when she was talking about something she was excited for/obsessed with. This was 100% relatable.

Another really relatable thing? When Raina was being bullied by Michelle. The few times Raina lost her temper and lashed out at Michelle, RAINA got yelled at for being disruptive, but Michelle didn’t get yelled at for the bullying. I found this INFURIATING because it happened to me ALL THE TIME in elementary school.

When Raina goes to the therapist for the first time, there’s this great visual representation of what goes on in your head when you have depression and anxiety. Without giving away too many spoilers, the therapist asks Raina why she’s there, in her own words. The illustration shows ALL this stuff going through Rainas mind, but she just says “…I dunno.” This was suuuuuch a mood. Sometimes, it’s so hard to articulate what’s going on in your mind when you’re dealing with depression/anxiety/etc, so this was just SO SO relatable.

Also, I never realized fear of vomit was a thing until I read this, and it explains a lot!

So yeah.. As a reader, I highly recommend this to anyone who deals with mental health issues. It was just SO beautifully done, I can’t even put it into words. And as a children’s bookseller, I HIGHLY recommend this one to those who enjoyed Raina’s other books – you’ll DEFINITELY enjoy this one, too. It’s especially great for kids who are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues. It can be difficult for kids to talk to adults about this kind of stuff for various reasons, and I think this book is the perfect gateway for kids to open this discussion. I think it will help them feel less alone.


Favorite Quotes:

“Can you be sick even if you’re not sick? Can you be healthy even if you hurt?”

“Thoughts can exist. Feelings can exist. But words do not exist.”

“It sounds like you have a lot of stressful things going on in your life!”

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

“You … only have control over yourself … “