Quick Info about Guts
|Release Date||10 September 2019|
|Representation||MC with anxiety disorder|
|Content Warnings||Anxiety disorder; Physical manifestation of anxiety, vomiting, general stomach issues; Bullying; Mentions of surgery, doctor visits; Mentions of menstruation|
|Synopsis||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.|
Review of Guts
In terms of anxiety rep, Guts is, hands down, the most relatable thing I have ever read. I am so grateful that this is going into the hands of elementary- and middle-schoolers, because if I’d had something like this at that age, I would have been so much better off.
This is the first book I’ve read from Raina Telgemeier. Yes, yes, I know! Everyone’s been shouting about how great her books are, but Tay finally pushed me when she took me with her to get an ARC of this at BookExpo. I went back to my Airbnb that night and read it in one sitting even though I should have been sleeping. Once I got started, I quickly found myself thrown back into fifth grade—a time of struggling with friends, puberty, and anxiety.
Guts follows Raina in fifth grade, which is a time of huge change. The biggest one, the center of the story, is that she’s suddenly suffering from stomach aches all the time. On top of that, girls in her class are talking about getting their first periods and leaving her out of conversations, and her closest friends don’t seem to understand why she just can’t be friends with Michelle who’s been bullying her for so long.
The story definitely reads more like a memoir than a fiction novel as there’s not as much punch to the plot. But I think it’s more of a story that says, “Hey, I see you. You’re valid,” than one that’s trying to entertain. I really appreciate how that’s done.
I saw myself so much in Raina’s struggle trying to figure out what’s wrong with her stomach when medical tests show that she’s “fine.” Plus the daily struggle of managing familial relationships (it really got me when her grandmother moves in and just does not stop talking, because oh my gosh, we all have that relative) and trying to figure out who your real friends are.
Typically, I like to comment on the art style for graphic novels, but it’s Raina Telgemeier. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said. (And I mean that in a positive way!)
Overall, Guts is just so painfully real. I absolutely adored it.
Whom I recommend this to
- People of all ages with anxiety who want to feel seen
- Everyone in upper elementary school and middle school
- Readers who just love Raina Telgemeier