Article Title



Emma Patton


Excellent, Intermediate, Young Adult, graphic novel, braces, middle school, high school, friendship, adolescence, family, mother-daughter relationships, identity, self-esteem, confidence, memoir, surgery, romance

Document Type

Book Review


Sometimes, it takes courage to smile. After Raina knocks out her two front teeth, she embarks on a journey of surgeries, procedures, and orthodontia that will last for many years to make her teeth look “normal.” At every turn, some new development pops up and prolongs the amount of time she’ll have to wait for her “real” smile to be ready. Amidst drama with her teeth, Raina faces conflicts with friends, boys, and the transition to high school. It is difficult for Raina to maintain hope that her dental drama could finally end one day, but she is ultimately able to find the courage to be herself and smile at the world, even if she is still a work in progress. Though her teeth cause her quite a bit of physical and emotional pain, Raina’s situation helps her to find true friends and appreciate the value of self-love during the most difficult times in life.