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Big Apple Diaries

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In Big Apple Diaries, a diary-style graphic memoir by Alyssa Bermudez, a young New Yorker doodles her way through middle school—until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack leaves her wondering if she can ever be a kid again. It’s the year 2000 in New York City. For 12-year old Alyssa, this means splitting time between her Puerto Rican dad's apartment in Manhattan and her In Big Apple Diaries, a diary-style graphic memoir by Alyssa Bermudez, a young New Yorker doodles her way through middle school—until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack leaves her wondering if she can ever be a kid again. It’s the year 2000 in New York City. For 12-year old Alyssa, this means splitting time between her Puerto Rican dad's apartment in Manhattan and her white mom's new place in Queens, navigating the trials and tribulations of middle school, and an epic crush on a new classmate. The only way to make sense of it all is to capture the highs and lows in doodles and hilarious comics in a diary. Then life abruptly changes on September 11, 2001. After the Twin Towers fall and so many lives are lost, worries about gossip and boys feel distant and insignificant. Alyssa must find a new sense of self and purpose amidst all of the chaos, and find the strength to move forward with hope.


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In Big Apple Diaries, a diary-style graphic memoir by Alyssa Bermudez, a young New Yorker doodles her way through middle school—until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack leaves her wondering if she can ever be a kid again. It’s the year 2000 in New York City. For 12-year old Alyssa, this means splitting time between her Puerto Rican dad's apartment in Manhattan and her In Big Apple Diaries, a diary-style graphic memoir by Alyssa Bermudez, a young New Yorker doodles her way through middle school—until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack leaves her wondering if she can ever be a kid again. It’s the year 2000 in New York City. For 12-year old Alyssa, this means splitting time between her Puerto Rican dad's apartment in Manhattan and her white mom's new place in Queens, navigating the trials and tribulations of middle school, and an epic crush on a new classmate. The only way to make sense of it all is to capture the highs and lows in doodles and hilarious comics in a diary. Then life abruptly changes on September 11, 2001. After the Twin Towers fall and so many lives are lost, worries about gossip and boys feel distant and insignificant. Alyssa must find a new sense of self and purpose amidst all of the chaos, and find the strength to move forward with hope.

30 review for Big Apple Diaries

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    This graphic-novel memoir is being released just in time for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. Alyssa shares her life as a tween in NYC at the beginning of this century. There are so many great details showing fashion, school, and life in the Big Apple. Included is her experience on 9/11/01. Both of her parents worked in or near the twin towers. Since we follow Alyssa's life for about two years, there are ups and downs as well as the typical identity struggles of a girl who is about to become a teen This graphic-novel memoir is being released just in time for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. Alyssa shares her life as a tween in NYC at the beginning of this century. There are so many great details showing fashion, school, and life in the Big Apple. Included is her experience on 9/11/01. Both of her parents worked in or near the twin towers. Since we follow Alyssa's life for about two years, there are ups and downs as well as the typical identity struggles of a girl who is about to become a teenager. I loved the inclusion of the religious and moral instruction from her Catholic school and her fascination with shoes. Give this one to kids who have enjoyed Vera Brosgol, Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell, Victoria Jamieson, and Jennifer L. Holm. Thank you to Roaring Brook Press and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Netgalley In this graphic novel memoir, artist Bermudez draws from her middle school diaries to highlight her 7th grade and 8th grade years in New York City, which included 9/11. Young Alyssa goes back and forth between her father's apartment in Manhattan and her mother's in Queens. She likes her school and has friends there, and has a crush on a boy named Alejandro. Her life is fairly normal, and she has typical struggles over being allowed out on her own, completing school wor E ARC provided by Netgalley In this graphic novel memoir, artist Bermudez draws from her middle school diaries to highlight her 7th grade and 8th grade years in New York City, which included 9/11. Young Alyssa goes back and forth between her father's apartment in Manhattan and her mother's in Queens. She likes her school and has friends there, and has a crush on a boy named Alejandro. Her life is fairly normal, and she has typical struggles over being allowed out on her own, completing school work in a timely fashion, and getting along with friends. Things were not that different in 2001, although there are some illustrations of early computer chat rooms or DM platforms: at the time, I didn't have graphic interface on my internet, so I'm not quite sure. What sets this apart from a typical tween story is, of course, the fact that she was very close to the events of 9/11. Her father worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings but was meeting with clients in New Jersey, and her mother was working in an office that had a view of the attacks. Both survived, but had a difficult time getting home, so Alyssa was the last one left at her school, tremendously worried about their fate. Her father bought roller blades and skated 12 miles to get back. Her immediate world didn't suffer many losses, but living in NYC made her acutely aware of what had gone on. Strengths: As someone who kept journals for almost 40 years, I very much appreciated that the material was drawn directly from Bermudez's own journals. This makes all of the interactions deliciously cringey and realistic, although I hope that modern girls don't care quite as much about boys! It's a great hook to have most of this book be about pedestrian tween concerns, because it brings the devastation of 9/11 closer to home. There is some investigation of her half Puerto Rican identity, struggles with the idea of her father dating, and a very realistic portrayal of tween romance-- sure, she's "going out" with Alejandro, but what really do they have in common? The illustrations are done in black, white, and a sort of purpley-blue that seems appropriately somber. This author has done primarily books for younger readers, but definitely has a deft hand with the middle school voice. Weaknesses: A little more of the history and politics of the time wouldn't have hurt, but that's easy enough to get from other books. What I really think: This is a great purchase for historical value; there are probably a few parents of middle school students who are this age, but there will be a lot more in years to come, and this was a great view of the events from someone who was herself in middle school. I was volunteering at the school where I now teach on this day, and I was surprised that Alyssa's school was able to shield the students from the news. Shortly after the first tower was hit, I think all of the teachers at my school had the news up on their computers, and everyone knew something was going on.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mid-Continent Public Library

    This graphic novel memoir is being released just in time for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. Alyssa shares her life as a tween in NYC at the beginning of this century. There are so many great details showing fashion, school, and life in the Big Apple. Included is her experience on 9/11/01. Both of her parents worked in or near the twin towers. Since we follow Alyssa's life for about two years, there are ups and downs as well as the typical identity struggles of a girl who is about to become a teen This graphic novel memoir is being released just in time for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. Alyssa shares her life as a tween in NYC at the beginning of this century. There are so many great details showing fashion, school, and life in the Big Apple. Included is her experience on 9/11/01. Both of her parents worked in or near the twin towers. Since we follow Alyssa's life for about two years, there are ups and downs as well as the typical identity struggles of a girl who is about to become a teenager. I loved the inclusion of the religious and moral instruction from her Catholic school and her fascination with shoes. Give this one to kids who have enjoyed Vera Brosgol, Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell, Victoria Jamieson, and Jennifer L. Holm. * Reviewed by Darla from Red Bridge *

  4. 5 out of 5

    Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)

    Big Apple Diaries is a relatable and enjoyable coming-of-age graphic memoir. Managing crushes, schoolwork, and a living in two homes after her parents divorce, young Alyssa is also actively doodling/journaling — a skill she will continue to use. This is a much-needed personal account of 9/11 that will appeal to a younger audience. I would recommend this one to kids ages 11 and up. Read my full review on my blog. Many thanks to the publisher for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review Big Apple Diaries is a relatable and enjoyable coming-of-age graphic memoir. Managing crushes, schoolwork, and a living in two homes after her parents divorce, young Alyssa is also actively doodling/journaling — a skill she will continue to use. This is a much-needed personal account of 9/11 that will appeal to a younger audience. I would recommend this one to kids ages 11 and up. Read my full review on my blog. Many thanks to the publisher for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Martina

    I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this gorgeous graphic novel from the author @bermudezbahama All thoughts are my own. Another book to add to your list of Books by Latinx authors! Big Apple Diaries is a graphic novel based on Alyssas actual diary entries in the early 2000s. It follows her life in the months before and after September 11th. I don’t usually read graphic novels but after my daughter Sophia told me she loved it I had to read it for myself. One of the reasons Sophia loved it wa I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this gorgeous graphic novel from the author @bermudezbahama All thoughts are my own. Another book to add to your list of Books by Latinx authors! Big Apple Diaries is a graphic novel based on Alyssas actual diary entries in the early 2000s. It follows her life in the months before and after September 11th. I don’t usually read graphic novels but after my daughter Sophia told me she loved it I had to read it for myself. One of the reasons Sophia loved it was because she could relate to traveling back and forth to different homes. It’s such a big topic for kids and I find it so important to have it in books. I’m grateful for books that touch on that. For me this book took me back! I was also 11 in 2001 so everything in this book I could relate to. From the crush on boy bands (mine was JC from N*SYNC) to the online chats! It was fun to think back on those days. While a lot of this book is fun and typical teenage stuff it does touch on one the biggest tragedies in America. The author portrays exactly how we all felt that day. Especially young kids. I truly love this book and it deserves a place in all school libraries. I’m so very grateful that I get to share this book with my kids.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    A look into a 7th/8th graders life. The illustrations were so pretty. At times it was hilarious, and others it was very teary eyed. I would recommend this as a read aloud in the classroom that would lead to good discussions on being a middle schooler and the times of Sept. 11th.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christy Broderick

    This graphic memoir was a good read in honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. You get to follow Alyssa,’s numerous diary entries and events written down leading up to September 11, 2001, along with how she copes afterwards. A really quick read and it includes awesome illustrations 😊

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    This diary format story will appeal to middle school readers as themes about friendship, boys, and family are discussed, during pre- and post- Sept 11 times.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Fitzgerald

    I enjoyed reading the memories of a young girl who was growing up in New York City in 2001. Hard to imagine that time period as historical, but it was twenty years ago... For me, the most interesting parts were the author’s memories of September 11th and after, but any book about New City in any time period catches my attention. My only complaint is the way the text was formatted. Some pages were almost unreadable, and none of the illustrations had words where the captions would be, only blank sp I enjoyed reading the memories of a young girl who was growing up in New York City in 2001. Hard to imagine that time period as historical, but it was twenty years ago... For me, the most interesting parts were the author’s memories of September 11th and after, but any book about New City in any time period catches my attention. My only complaint is the way the text was formatted. Some pages were almost unreadable, and none of the illustrations had words where the captions would be, only blank spaces. Of course, I realize (and hope) that this is due to the document being an ARC. *Thanks to Netgalley for a free digital copy. All opinions are strictly my own.*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel A

    The author is a year younger than me, and I recognized some of what she was going through as a preteen and teen right around 2001. She does an amazing job with this book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carin

    Alyssa goes to Catholic school in Manhattan. She splits her time between her mom’s place out in Queens, and her dad’s apartment on the Upper East Side. She thinks her parents are too overprotective. She is worried about what high schools to apply to. She thinks she kind of likes the new boy at school who’s cute and quiet. She does pretty well at school, when she doesn’t get too distracted. This is the focus of this graphic memoir up until September 11, 2001, which you totally see coming as these Alyssa goes to Catholic school in Manhattan. She splits her time between her mom’s place out in Queens, and her dad’s apartment on the Upper East Side. She thinks her parents are too overprotective. She is worried about what high schools to apply to. She thinks she kind of likes the new boy at school who’s cute and quiet. She does pretty well at school, when she doesn’t get too distracted. This is the focus of this graphic memoir up until September 11, 2001, which you totally see coming as these are dated diary entries. Alyssa’s father works in the World Trade Center and she sometimes goes to work with him. Her mom also works in the Financial District. And on that day, you are very anxious about what’s happening. The children don’t know at first what’s happening, as their school isn’t downtown at all. But I won’t give that away. I was twenty-seven and working in I guess lower midtown on 9/11/01 and I’ve read and heard multiple accounts from people who were caught in the event itself, or accounts that really bug me about people who were across the country and had no connection to it but who think their own story is important (sorry, it’s not.) But I hadn’t heard a story like this–from a kid in Manhattan, which extremely personal ties, but who wasn’t in the actual physical mess downtown. (I have heard about other children who went to school in the Financial District.) Her story is somewhat like mine–I was closer physically but didn’t have family members down there (I did have a couple of friends who lived or worked in the area, but they were all fine it turns out.) It was just so different for New Yorkers that I don’t think people in other parts of the country–aside from Washington DC–can comprehend. The anniversary of September 11th is this year. If you want an account of the experience of living through that as a New Yorker, from young, impressionable, not yet understanding of politics eyes, this is a great piece. Especially great for children who don’t understand what happened (as none of them were close to being born! Man, twenty years.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mel Mg

    Most amazing graphic novel! My kids have loved following the journey. The detail is fabulous and the story makes you want more! What an amazing book! So lucky to have read it! Would recommend to anyone who is looking to put a smile on their face.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heather |

    I read this with my daughter she really enjoyed it. It was interesting to her about the author’s experience and feelings she felt going through the events of 911. It would hard to live right in the center of the events. It also was fun she include real pictures of her self at the end of the book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    Big Apple Diaries is based on the author’s actual journals which she has illustrated as a graphic diary memoir encompassing the time from September 2000 to June 2002. Alyssa Bermudez was the child of divorced parents, dividing her time between her Puerto Rican father who lived in Manhattan and her Italian-British mother who lived in Queens. This diary begins in 7th grade where “It seems that suddenly every grade you get and everything you do matters…. Now our friends are obsessed with who has a Big Apple Diaries is based on the author’s actual journals which she has illustrated as a graphic diary memoir encompassing the time from September 2000 to June 2002. Alyssa Bermudez was the child of divorced parents, dividing her time between her Puerto Rican father who lived in Manhattan and her Italian-British mother who lived in Queens. This diary begins in 7th grade where “It seems that suddenly every grade you get and everything you do matters…. Now our friends are obsessed with who has a crush on who. And who is the coolest. There is all of this pressure to be popular and smart or face a dim future being a weirdo with no job.” (10) Alyssa is not particularly popular, but not particularly unpopular either, has a much older half-brother and two best friends, Lucy and Carmen, and is an artist who wants to become a shoe designer. In this 7th grade year, she experiences her first crush—Alejandro from Columbia. Her diary takes us through the typical middle school year familiar to most of our adolescent readers. “Yesterday I did something very stupid. I knew it was stupid at the time and I still did it anyway. It’s like the drive to be popular makes me see things through stupid lenses.” (83) Typical preteen, she does many “stupid things”: shaves her eyebrows, accidentally dyes her hair orange, cuts school. Two months before her thirteenth birthday, the attacks of September 11th occur. Alyssa’s mother works in a building that faced the Twin Towers. She escapes and catches the last train to Queens. Her father works in the World Trade Center but, luckily, was meeting a client in Jersey City that morning (and then, with no transportation available, buys skates to skate the 19.5 miles back to his Manhattan home). Overcome with emotion, Alyssa writes no entries for that day and the following few. After that time Alyssa recognizes, “I sort of feel like I have no control over anything. I want to come back to the normal life I knew and the Twin Towers that I visited with Dad all the time.”(195) She finds herself changing, maturing: “When things can change in an instant, it’s hard to accept it. I want to make the right decisions and prove my worth. I want to be brave.” (211) On her thirteenth birthday she begins to wonder “Who am I?” and begins thinking about more her character and how she may want to change. Her diary takes the reader through graduation to a future where, “Some things I’ll take with me and other things I will leave behind.” (274) Big Apple Diaries, a graphic memoir of an NYC adolescent who experienced 9/11 as part of her middle grade years, adds yet another perspective or dimension to the other 9/11 novels.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abby Strom

    A graphic novel memoir! Alyssa is living in New York City, and the novel takes place during her seventh and eighth-grade years (Sept. 2000-May 2002). Her parents are divorced, she's not popular, but she's not un-popular either. She has a crush on Alejandro and loves to draw. This novel shows Alyssa's life before, during, and after the 9/11 attacks. I was six at the time of 9/11, so a lot of Alyssa's middle school years were similar to mine. I loved/laughed at Alyssa needing to get offline becaus A graphic novel memoir! Alyssa is living in New York City, and the novel takes place during her seventh and eighth-grade years (Sept. 2000-May 2002). Her parents are divorced, she's not popular, but she's not un-popular either. She has a crush on Alejandro and loves to draw. This novel shows Alyssa's life before, during, and after the 9/11 attacks. I was six at the time of 9/11, so a lot of Alyssa's middle school years were similar to mine. I loved/laughed at Alyssa needing to get offline because her Mom might be calling to check-in, or her waiting for her crush to come online. As someone who was not living in New York City at the time of 9/11, I love how it showed what it was like for schools taking students into a space to tell them what had happened. Students waiting for parents, and the worry created as Alyssa was the last student waiting. I really enjoyed how Alyssa found herself feeling better from drawing--when she'd draw, that's all she was focused on. I think this is a great book for students to learn more about 9/11 in a graphic novel form! I also saw a lot of parallels reading this memoir (from the author's diaries) in 2021. Some things thought, said, and felt about the 9/11 attacks are similar to the COVID-19 pandemic in my opinion. --"There's sort of a quiet hush... It still feels like I am living in a bizarre dream. Strangers are making eye contact for the first time and it seems as though they just understand each other. It feels like everyone... is connected by the same thoughts" (192). --"the weight of the world" (211). --(For Thanksgiving) "I noticed how festive everything looked. I was glad to see some things would always stay the same" (217). --"Sometimes everything feels completely normal. Everyday routines--going to school, doing homework, eating, going to bed. I don't even have to think of how it might be different for other people on those days. And then other days it hits me... like today..." (222). --"How can anyone feel festive when those people aren't here anymore?" (224). --"There is a sense of strength in rebuilding and starting again" (230). --(For new year) "Last year was crazy and I am ready for something better. I don't know what's going to happen, and I guess no one else knows, either. I don't know how to put my faith into it blind, but I will try" (232).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: It's the first week of seventh grade. Premise/plot: Alyssa Bermudez shares some of her diary entries in her new book, Big Apple Diaries. This nonfiction illustrated diary (is it a graphic novel or an illustrated diary?) opens in September 2000. She is entering seventh grade. The book covers both her seventh and eighth grade years, 2000 through 2002. It covers school life (friends, teachers, classes, homework) and home life (her parents' divorce, living in two homes, her freedom or First sentence: It's the first week of seventh grade. Premise/plot: Alyssa Bermudez shares some of her diary entries in her new book, Big Apple Diaries. This nonfiction illustrated diary (is it a graphic novel or an illustrated diary?) opens in September 2000. She is entering seventh grade. The book covers both her seventh and eighth grade years, 2000 through 2002. It covers school life (friends, teachers, classes, homework) and home life (her parents' divorce, living in two homes, her freedom or lack thereof, her friends, her hobbies, etc.). One of the big topics is her crush on Alejandro, a classmate/deskmate. I should mention, I suppose, it is set at a Catholic School. As the title suggests, it's set in New York City. My thoughts: I think adults and tweens will approach this book differently--for better or worse. As an adult, when I read the date--September 2000--I was like I bet this book covers 9/11. Emotionally I was already sent a shock wave--is that the right word??? Finding out that her father works at the World Trade Center and that her mother also works downtown, it was another punch. I felt a connection and was invested in Alyssa's story. The target audience for this one would have been born between 2008 and 2011. I'm not sure there will be this immediate connection or concern because they didn't live through this. 9/11 if thought of as all is probably an event in a history book, it doesn't come with mental/emotional baggage. I don't want you to think the whole book is about 9/11. It isn't. Alyssa is your typical (somewhat typical) tween. The issues she is facing at this time in her life are universal and super relatable. And I think that is important. Readers today can connect with Alyssa still.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Interesting, but slow, slice of life taken from the author's diaries that she wrote at the time. She changed the names of the mean girls, and probably other kids as well. The story follows her life at a Catholic private school, with her friends, and her first crush. The story also talks about how 9-11 affects everyone, when it happens. That, to me, as the really interesting part of the story, and she had to do that from memory, because she didn't write about it when it happened at the time. After Interesting, but slow, slice of life taken from the author's diaries that she wrote at the time. She changed the names of the mean girls, and probably other kids as well. The story follows her life at a Catholic private school, with her friends, and her first crush. The story also talks about how 9-11 affects everyone, when it happens. That, to me, as the really interesting part of the story, and she had to do that from memory, because she didn't write about it when it happened at the time. After that, it was just trying to decide on what Catholic high school to go to. I felt for Alyssa, a little. But, I guess I didn't feel anything for the rest of the chracters, which seemed to be stereotypes. Perhaps I was the wrong audience. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maura

    Relatable, beautifully drawn graphic novel memoir of the author’s two middle school years, with the events of September 11, 2001 serving as the hinge for an emotional turning point. Based on her real diaries during those years, the book realistically depicts everyday stressors of grades, switching back and forth between parents post-divorce, concerns about appearance and fitting in, and a school crush. It also tackles more complex emotions such as constantly second guessing herself, anxiety afte Relatable, beautifully drawn graphic novel memoir of the author’s two middle school years, with the events of September 11, 2001 serving as the hinge for an emotional turning point. Based on her real diaries during those years, the book realistically depicts everyday stressors of grades, switching back and forth between parents post-divorce, concerns about appearance and fitting in, and a school crush. It also tackles more complex emotions such as constantly second guessing herself, anxiety after a good thing happens that it is too good to be true, grief around 9/11, and a parent’s serious illness. A definite to-buy for middle school libraries…it is only unfortunate that the cover image is so juvenile, or it would be more appealing to the 7th-8th grade set. I would buy for an elementary library but the very juvenile cover may mislead much younger readers (like 2nd-3rd grade) that it is suitable for them, where it’s sweet spot hits around 6th grade.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    Author illustrates own actual diaries from 2000-2002 when she was a typical middle schooler growing up in NYC. September 11 happens about 3/4 of the way in and is handled seriously and respectfully and kinda in the background. Author note at the end with actual photographs adds extra context and depth.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    One of my most realistic tween-style diaries/memoirs I've ever read! Even if it didn't depict such an incredibly devastating event of American history, this would still be a great read. The historical context only adds to its importance. One of my most realistic tween-style diaries/memoirs I've ever read! Even if it didn't depict such an incredibly devastating event of American history, this would still be a great read. The historical context only adds to its importance.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katelynne

    As someone around Alyssa's age, I really vibed with this book. Lots of early 2000s references. I loved how much Alyssa matured post-9/11. As someone around Alyssa's age, I really vibed with this book. Lots of early 2000s references. I loved how much Alyssa matured post-9/11.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    Middle grade graphic novel about a girl's life leading up to and following 9/11. The MC sorts through her thoughts and feelings about boys, faith, and her place in the world. Told honestly and earnestly in words and illustration. Middle grade graphic novel about a girl's life leading up to and following 9/11. The MC sorts through her thoughts and feelings about boys, faith, and her place in the world. Told honestly and earnestly in words and illustration.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rowe

    A beautiful, touching and sometimes humorous diary-style memoir based on the author’s very own diary from her 7th and 8th grade years. It begins with typical 7th issues such as getting zits, having a crush, trying to get more freedom... Then at the beginning of her 8th grade year, the Twin Towers fall and life changes for her and she begins to figure out who she really is. Lovely illustrations and a very enjoyable book, although at some points painful to read (seeing images or reading about 9/11 A beautiful, touching and sometimes humorous diary-style memoir based on the author’s very own diary from her 7th and 8th grade years. It begins with typical 7th issues such as getting zits, having a crush, trying to get more freedom... Then at the beginning of her 8th grade year, the Twin Towers fall and life changes for her and she begins to figure out who she really is. Lovely illustrations and a very enjoyable book, although at some points painful to read (seeing images or reading about 9/11 is never easy). Thanks to NetGalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    The seventh and eighth grade years are challenging for anyone, but when the Twin Towers in New York City fall in September 2001, what has seemed important in the past is suddenly much less important. As the priorities of diarist Alyssa Bermudez shift, she questions her future and is grateful that both of her parents survived the terrorist attack. There's a lot for middle grade readers to like in this memoir, including Alyssa's crush on a new classmate, her struggles with her unibrow, her interes The seventh and eighth grade years are challenging for anyone, but when the Twin Towers in New York City fall in September 2001, what has seemed important in the past is suddenly much less important. As the priorities of diarist Alyssa Bermudez shift, she questions her future and is grateful that both of her parents survived the terrorist attack. There's a lot for middle grade readers to like in this memoir, including Alyssa's crush on a new classmate, her struggles with her unibrow, her interest in fashion, especially shoes, her grades and concern about letting her parents down, wanting more freedom but then making mistakes that prompt restrictions. The illustrations and diary entries over the course of two academic years will resonate with many youngsters because her voice is so authentic and Alyssa seems so very real in how she anticipates Valentine's Day or a school dance. The only disappointment in all this for me came with the realization that the entries about 9/1/1 weren't hers but based on those of a friend since she didn't write about the terrorist attacks in her own journal. I wish there had been more entries about this event and its aftermath and that they'd been hers. Other readers may not feel the same way.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    A peak into the life of a 12 year old New York City student. Cute boys, shoes, exams and popularity occupy Alyssa's mind in 2000. She just wants a bit of freedom, and for Alejandro to like her back, all while trying to figure out how to get good marks so she can get into a good high school. Balancing time between her mom's house in Queens and her Dad's apartment in Manhattan and defining what it is to be a "real" Puerto Rican is a lot for a 12 year old, but drawing and journaling seem to help a A peak into the life of a 12 year old New York City student. Cute boys, shoes, exams and popularity occupy Alyssa's mind in 2000. She just wants a bit of freedom, and for Alejandro to like her back, all while trying to figure out how to get good marks so she can get into a good high school. Balancing time between her mom's house in Queens and her Dad's apartment in Manhattan and defining what it is to be a "real" Puerto Rican is a lot for a 12 year old, but drawing and journaling seem to help a lot. The September 11th attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 changes Alyssa and all her classmate's ideas on what's important though. Author Alyssa Bermudez shares actual diary entries from that time in her life, accompanied by visual reenactments of what is talked about within them. I liked the author's note at the end, including photographs of some of the people mentioned in the book, as well as an update on where she ended up after the story ends.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    With thanks to NetGalley and Roaring Brook Press for an early copy in return for an honest review. For our middle grade students, who were born approximately 2008-2013, 9/11 is not something they lived through and so they likely have varying levels of knowledge and understanding of this event. Because of that I think they need varying levels of books to introduce them to what happened on 9/11. This graphic novel style memoir (diary form) does a good job introducing readers to the events of 9/11 f With thanks to NetGalley and Roaring Brook Press for an early copy in return for an honest review. For our middle grade students, who were born approximately 2008-2013, 9/11 is not something they lived through and so they likely have varying levels of knowledge and understanding of this event. Because of that I think they need varying levels of books to introduce them to what happened on 9/11. This graphic novel style memoir (diary form) does a good job introducing readers to the events of 9/11 from the perspective of a young kid. I would probably recommend this more for upper middle grade since the story focuses on the main character's 7th and 8th grade years. I also think this book would be a great launching pad for encouraging kids to keep a diary or journal of their own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Received a free ARC from NetGalley- 3.5 stars Alyssa is a 12 year old of Puerto Rican descent who dreams of being an artist. She has divorced parents who share custody, goes to Catholic school and has good grades. The story is cute and interesting- told in a graphic novel format as if the reader is reading her actual diary. As the diary covers September 2000 to June 2002, there is a section on how Alyssa, her parents and her classmates are affected by the events of the September 11 2001 terrorist Received a free ARC from NetGalley- 3.5 stars Alyssa is a 12 year old of Puerto Rican descent who dreams of being an artist. She has divorced parents who share custody, goes to Catholic school and has good grades. The story is cute and interesting- told in a graphic novel format as if the reader is reading her actual diary. As the diary covers September 2000 to June 2002, there is a section on how Alyssa, her parents and her classmates are affected by the events of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks. I really related to the character of Alyssa and I don’t think I’ve read a book with a character like that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tabrizia

    I found this memoir not only highly enjoyable but relatable. Along with reminiscing with Alysssa on her middle grade years, I was doing the same with my years, since my childhood had some similarities but most importantly the part about 9/11. A lot of middle grade readers will love the diary format of this story and although it includes references that may go over the young readers' heads, the uncertainty of life and growing up with different emotions are themes that young readers will identify I found this memoir not only highly enjoyable but relatable. Along with reminiscing with Alysssa on her middle grade years, I was doing the same with my years, since my childhood had some similarities but most importantly the part about 9/11. A lot of middle grade readers will love the diary format of this story and although it includes references that may go over the young readers' heads, the uncertainty of life and growing up with different emotions are themes that young readers will identify with.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Ann

    ARC courtesy of NetGalley. A graphic novel memoir based on the author's real life diaries from the early 2000s, Big Apple Diaries is an engaging, heartfelt read. It has a historical, first hand account that will appeal to readers wanting to learn more about that time period and 9/11, especially as we approach 20 years later (!). The art is really wonderful too. I hope we see more from Bermudez in this format! ARC courtesy of NetGalley. A graphic novel memoir based on the author's real life diaries from the early 2000s, Big Apple Diaries is an engaging, heartfelt read. It has a historical, first hand account that will appeal to readers wanting to learn more about that time period and 9/11, especially as we approach 20 years later (!). The art is really wonderful too. I hope we see more from Bermudez in this format!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    I really love diary format books and the illustrations made this one so much more appealing and fun! I liked Alyssa and how she wrote about everything from trying to be popular, her issues with her body and changes going on within her and around her. This is some ways reminded me of the Amelia books by Marissa Moss, which I loved as a girl! I think this will be very appealing to middle grade readers! Thanks NetGalley for this ARC!

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