The Real Riley Mayes

$12.99 USD

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Paperback/ Graphic Novel


Funny and full of heart, this debut graphic novel is a story about friendship, identity, and embracing all the parts of yourself that make you special.  

Fifth grade is just not Riley’s vibe. Everyone else is squaded up—except Riley. Her best friend moved away. All she wants to do is draw, and her grades show it.

One thing that makes her happy is her favorite comedian, Joy Powers. Riley loves to watch her old shows and has memorized her best jokes. So when the class is assigned to write letters to people they admire, of course Riley’s picking Joy Powers!

Things start to look up when a classmate, Cate, offers to help Riley with the letter, and a new kid, Aaron, actually seems to get her weird sense of humor. But when mean girl Whitney spreads a rumor about her, things begin to click into place for Riley. Her curiosity about Aaron’s two dads and her celebrity crush on Joy Powers suddenly make more sense.

Readers will respond to Riley’s journey of self-discovery and will recognize themselves in this character who is less than perfect but trying her best. And creative kids will recognize themselves in her love of art and drawing.

While often funny and light, Riley’s exploration of what it feels to be an outsider and how hard it can be to make a friend break your heart in the best way. And with all of Riley’s hijinks and missteps, this story is laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish.


Rachel Elliott took her first drawing class at age eight at a neighbor's farm in Oklahoma. She now teaches writing and comics classes in Kentucky, where she lives with her partner. The Real Riley Mayes is her first book

“Readers—especially fans of Jeff Kinney and Amy Ignatow—will love the mixture of realism and imagination that fuels Riley’s world. This story is real—and really great!” — Kirkus Reviews

'There is a lot going on in this story—finding real friends, first crushes, discovering gender identity—and all of it is handled tenderly and with respect for each of the main characters.... A fun, funny story that rings true.' — Booklist

'This realistic and heartwarming story, filled with humor and angst, has a little something for everyone to enjoy.... [A] hit for readers who enjoy Raina Telgemeier’s books and Jennifer Holm’s “Sunny” series.' — School Library Journal




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