Saturday, October 20, 2018

[Graphic Novel Review] Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol is a story about a young Russian girl who wants nothing more but to go off to summer camp to be like all the other rich girls. But she doesn't want to go to just any camp, she wants to go to a Russian summer camp where she believes she will finally fit in.

The premise sounded great to me when I first heard about it. And, well... At least this was a quick read.

Let's dive in!

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

I will say that the author did an absolutely wonderful job capturing the negativity that pre-teens and teens have to deal with. Especially when it comes to the drama of a summer camp! There were many scenes included that definitely nailed the anxiety of trying to fit in.

The artwork was fun. I did enjoy the texture of it and some of the pages were really lovely. Like the night scene with the moon or the moose in the lake.

While reading, there was something that kept me going, even though I wasn't totally loving it. However, a lot of this really didn't work for me.

1. The mean girls
First of all, they were exhausting to read about. We saw one version of mean girl with the rich friends, and then again with the older girls at camp. Vera knew she was the odd one out, but she kept trying to impress them time and time again, never learning. This trope could have worked if the main character had learned something from it, but she didn't seem to.

2. Passing the bullying on
Vera herself was pretty horrible a few of times, whether that was talking down to a younger girl, yelling at her counselor, or cracking a rude joke at the expense of another camper. Realistic, yes. Necessary for the story, no.

3. Phrases like these: ‘‘It felt strangely good to see someone else suffer a little,’’ & ‘‘Geez. He was embarrassing to watch. Crying in front of everyone."
WOW.  How horrible?! This coming from the kid that has lived through nothing but bullying. Perhaps I just can't deal with her character because I was always the nice kid no matter how much I was picked on. If I was at camp and saw someone crying, I was the one going over to see if they were okay. I certainly wasn't one staring or cracking crude jokes.

4. The way the main character looked
It was a bit odd to me that the main character looked quite different from all the others; she was much more cartoonish. I'm sure that was done for a reason.. Like the author really wanted to drive home the fact that she didn't fit in.

5. The jumpy narration
This just didn't flow very well. It was so jumpy. It seemed like it just moved from one random camp scene to another.

6. Zero lessons were learned
I so wanted the main character to learn SOMETHING. The summer camp could have been a great way to teach her many things about growing up. But she didn't learn anything. Not one thing.

Overall, worth a read, though I wouldn't necessarily recommend this one. Especially not to the target audience. It just lacked the lessons that could have worked really well here.


  1. That's too bad this didn't work for you. Hopefully you'll enjoy your next read more.

  2. The cover is cute! Sorry that Be Prepared didn't work for you. #3 is terrible, I can't believe she would bully others after knowing how it felt.

  3. So sorry this didn't work out for you. I was thinking of picking it up myself, but may just skip it now. Definitely sounds like there was no real follow through for the characters if they didn't learn anything.

    1. Yeah... maybe try to snag it from the library? I'd love to hear your thoughts about it if you do pick it up! :)