Sunday, June 20, 2021

MMGM: Kyle's Little Sister story and art by BonHyung Jeong

Kyle's Little Sister
Story and Art by BonHyung Jeong
JY, an imprint Yen Press, 2021, 240 pages

Sixth grader Grace Bailey is very excited to finally be a middle grader. Well, except for one thing - older brother Kyle is an eight grader in the same school. Grace and Kyle may be siblings, but they couldn't be more different. Kyle is outgoing, good-looking and popular, especially among the girls, and likes to game with his two best friends, Liam and Andrew. Grace is a quiet, shy girl who prefers staying home and gaming with her two best friends, Jay, who is Black and has a big crush on Kyle, and Amy, Andrew's younger sister.
When Amy finds out that Andrew is having a game night with Kyle and Liam at her house, she convinces her mother to let her have an overnight with Jay and Grace at the same time. Everything is going relatively well until Amy starts pushing Jay to let Kyle know how she feels, something Jay does not want to do. When Jay finally tells Amy to stop pushing it, that she's taking Jay's feelings too lightly, Amy explodes. Hurtful words are said, feelings are hurt, Jay goes home, and Amy tells Grace she is only her friend because of their brothers. 
The following Monday, after not receiving any text messages all weekend from Jay or Amy, Grace finds herself alone in school, with no one to hang out with or sit with at lunch. But soon a popular, outgoing girl with blond curly hair named Cam invites her to sit at her table at lunch after finding out Grace's last name is Bailey. It's fun for a while, but when Cam and her other friends start bullying Amy, Grace begins to feel badly for her old friend. Things really come to a head when Grace discovers Cam's ulterior motive for being so friendly to her. Things are so bad that even Kyle begins to notice something's wrong. 

Will Kyle finally help his sister out? Will Grace, Jay, and Amy ever be able to patch things up and become besties again? And who is Audrey and is she friend or just another girl with a Kyle crush?

Kyle's Little Sister is a debut graphic novel for BonHyung Jeong and she has really hit it out of the park, capturing all the big and small happenings and nuances that can only happen in middle school. Her characters are so spot on and so very today even if the story is as old as...middle school. Jeong's has managed to take a handful of characters and give them all distinct personalities. There is nothing ambiguous in the storyline, and motives are clear and uncomplicated, and there is even a nod to the very popular K-Pop phenomena.  

Jeong's art is also uncomplicated, and I love the way she indicates things like the noisy school hallways, and the mutterings and asides of the characters by using a smaller font and not encasing them in a speech bubbles. Her illustrations are done in a soft pastel palette of colors, and her characters are given a variety of facial expressions reflecting their feelings and emotions, and red mouths when they are speaking.  

I'm a big fan of graphic novels and this one about living in the shadow of an older popular sibling is totally relatable and I know this from my own experience. I got really tired of people, especially teachers, saying to me "Aren't you Ginny's little sister? You're nothing like her." I suspect there are many of us out there who can relate to Kyle's Little Sister

Art and storyline make this a unique graphic novel about school relationships, sibling rivalry, forgiveness, maturing, and real friendships to share with your young readers. 

Meet the Author/Illustrator
BonHyung Jeong (Bon) studied Cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Kyle's Little Sister is her debut graphic novel, made possible with the help of numerous people. She hopes to make connections with others through relatable stories. Currently living in Korea, she's always busy playing console games - exactly like someone in the book. 

This book is recommended for readers 9+
This book was gratefully received from Casey Blackwell at Media Masters Publicity  

Be sure to check out the other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday offerings, 
now being carried on by Greg at Always in the Middle.


  1. I’m a big graphic novel fan as well, and I’m surprised that I never heard of this one! It sounds like a well-executed depiction of middle-school life and drama. Thanks so much for the great review!

  2. I love graphic novels and this one sounds great. Sounds like it will be a big hit with the middle school crowd since they can relate so well to the characters. This was my first time hearing of this book- so thank you for the introduction. :)

  3. I can relate to having an older sibling in the same school. I don't read many graphic novels but your review has me wanting to give this one a go, hopefully this summer. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  4. I don't like graphic novels (I get stuck on small detail in the pictures), but I did like this one.

  5. This definitely sounds like a great middle grade story. It must be hard being the younger of two siblings in middle school. I was the oldest so never went through it. Glad you enjoyed it so much.

  6. Middle Grade readers are going to love this graphic novel. Thanks for your thorough review and for sharing some of the artwork.

  7. Having older siblings at the same school is fertile ground for books for kids. The art work looks cute and the story sounds engaging. Thanks for the review.

  8. I am just beginning to appreciate the power of graphic novels... and this sounds like a wonderful story to explore this way. Thanks for sharing.


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