The Tryout

the tryout a graphic novel christina soontornvat

“Are you from China.”  “No. My Dad’s from Thailand.”

“ I think you mean Taiwan.”  "No.....I mean Thailand."

"When did you move to America?"   "I'm a Texan.  I was born here just like you."---from The Tryout

Anybody feel like they aren't being accepted?   Anybody feel like they don't fit in?

This is middle school ... the early remember, the days when you discover you are expected to change your clothes in front of everyone for P.E.  These are the days when you find out that sports are for real and for serious now and it's no longer let's all play softball together and have fun.  For sure these are the days when you don't...I repeat ... do not...wear your Care Bear undies to school.   Plenty of ways to make a girl feel left out and left behind.

So, when the tryouts for cheerleading are announced, Christina who was born in Texas and her best friend, Megan, decide that being a cheerleader may be the exact pathway they need to fit in, to belong, to be popular in middle school and best of all to be accepted.

This story is based on the real life experiences of author, Christina Soontornvat.    She spoke at an ALA Annual event hosted by Scholastic and told about how it felt to run out in front of an audience of her peers in the school gym to try out.  The more she told us the more we realized this is no benign graphic novel...this is a horror's in the suspense thriller category.  Will she make it?  Will her best friend make it?  What if they don't make it?

Prepare to cringe....... and maybe to walk in someone else's shoes for a few chapters.....

"Go back where I came from? Where- like Dallas?  My Dad's a U.S. citizen."   Maybe that person sits in the row by the window in your own middle school.......

272 pages                978-1338741261                       Ages 9-13

Keywords: graphic novel, graphic memoir, diversity, diverse books, South Asian, Asian American, acceptance, accepting others, stereotypes, prejudice and racism, middle school, girls and women, courage, perseverance, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, self image, self esteem, self reliance, cheerleading

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,


From two-time Newbery Honoree and Kirkus Prize winner Christina Soontornvat, and stellar new talent, Joanna Cacao, comes a high stakes, highly relatable graphic novel about courage and competition, friendship and belonging, and learning to feel comfortable in your own skin. Perfect for fans of New Kid, Rollergirl, and Real Friends. Trying out for middle school cheerleader means: performing in the giant school gym, with the whole school watching, and risking total humiliation. If Christina can make it through this, she can make it through anything. ​​​​​​​ As one of the only Asian American kids in her small Texas town, Christina just wants to fit in. Luckily, her best friend, Megan, who is Iranian American, can totally relate. The two girls have always been inseparable and relish creating elaborate fantasy worlds together. But middle school is a reality-check, and suddenly popularity is way more important than playing pretend. ​​​​​​​ When cheerleading tryouts are announced, Christina and Megan literally jump at the chance to join the squad. But does fitting in actually equal belonging? Will they survive the terrifying tryouts? And most importantly, will their friendship withstand the pressures of heated competition and rivalry? ​​​​​​​ Hilarious and heartfelt, The Tryout is Christina Soontornvat's personal story, sure to make you laugh, cry, and cheer!---from the publisher

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