New in Town (Curlfriends)

by Sharee Miller (Author)

Reading Level: 6th − 7th Grade
Series: Curlfriends

New Kid meets The Baby-sitters Club in this graphic novel series opener about the Curlfriends, four inseparable Black girls who show us the meaning of true friendship--and being your true self.

Charlie has a foolproof plan for the first day at her new middle school. Even though she's used to starting over as the new kid--thanks to her military family's constant moving--making friends has never been easy for her. But this time, her first impression needs to last, since this is where her family plans to settle for good. So she's hiding any interests that may seem "babyish," updating her look, and doing her best to leave her shyness behind her...but is erasing the real Charlie the best way to make friends? When not everything goes exactly to plan--like, AT ALL--Charlie is ready to give up on making new friendships. Then she meets the Curlfriends, a group of Black girls who couldn't be more different from each other, and learns that maybe there is a place for Charlie to be her true self after all.

Sharee Miller's graphic novel debut starts off an exciting contemporary series featuring four Black girls who each have a unique story, and each learn lessons about friendship, family, and being their true selves.

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Kirkus Reviews

A delightful coming-of-age story.

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8—Twelve-year-old Charlie Harper has gotten used to constantly moving and starting over thanks to her Air Force father's many deployments. But now that her father has retired, Charlie's family is finally settling down. Convinced that she only gets one chance to make a good first impression, Charlie is determined to make her first day at Hill Valley Middle School a perfect one. She has researched the latest fashions, is trying new hairstyles, and has made the switch from glasses to contacts. After meeting a group of friends following an unfortunate run-in with the janitor's water bucket, Charlie realizes it's not easy trying to uphold her new persona as she goes out of her way to hide all the parts of herself she deems uncool. Text boxes and speech bubbles run long and the flow of dialogue sometimes feels stilted, but the almost overwhelming uncertainty and desire to fit in that Charlie experiences ring painfully true. The pastel rainbow palette, sparse backgrounds, and confidence of Charlie's friend group provide a refreshing counterbalance to her anxiety, modeling a type of genuine self-confidence not often depicted in this age group. Mr. Harper's confession to Charlie about his own struggles as a young person offers additional reassurance that this too shall pass. The main characters are Black and Latinx, background characters appear to be racially and ethnically diverse, and a wheelchair user makes an appearance. VERDICT A sincere and relatable depiction of trying too hard to fit in and almost losing yourself in the process. Recommended.—Alea Perez

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A refreshingly honest look at middle school friendship, and the cost of trying to fit in. —Claribel A. Ortega, NYT bestselling and award winning author of Frizzy
Sharee Miller
Sharee Miller has a BFA in communication design from Pratt Institute. She lives in Brooklyn, where she enjoys spending time with her two cats and illustrating fun stories. Sharee is the author and illustrator of Princess Hair. She invites you to visit her website at and her Instagram @coilyandcute.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little Brown Ink/Little Brown and Company
Publication date
October 10, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
JUV008110 - Juvenile Fiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Humorous
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
Friendship in children
Graphic novels
Moving, Household
Middle schools
African American girls
Cartoons and comics

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