A unique middle school experience due to it being set in a Catholic school shows that the issues of growing up are the same no matter who you are. You can be half Puerto Rican, come from Columbia, have your parents divorced or together, everyone deals with finding the balance of home and a place to call your own. The diary format helps bring to life these ups and downs. Several chapters deal with the emotions and events surrounding September 11, 2001, but they are handled with respect and love as they are based on Alyssa's own middle school years and what she personally experienced. — Jeanette
In Big Apple Diaries, a heartfelt 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.
"Educators seeking firsthand accounts of 9/11 will want to share this with their students, while middle graders looking for an engrossing graphic novel in the vein of Raina Telgemeier’s or Shannon Hale’s work will be pleased." —School Library Journal
"An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy." —Kirkus Reviews
"Combining eye-catching layouts with frank vulnerability... Bermudez puts her whole heart on the page, and the love she holds for her younger self can be deeply felt in every entry." —Publisher's Weekly
"Big Apple Diaries is a beautiful snapshot of preteen life." —Shelf Awareness