Go with the Flow

A friendship story. Period.

by Karen Schneemann and Lily Williams

Junvenile graphic novel about friendships, and girls having their period. One girl is new to the high school, and joins a group of three friends when she has an accident in the middle of the hall (her period comes unexpectedly) and they do their best to rescue the situation. The girls are outraged to find that dispensers in the girls’ bathroom, supposed to hold feminine products, are empty. What if another girl needed something, and nobody was around with an extra pad or tampon? Appallingly, this school doesn’t even have a nurse, due to budget cuts (seriously? I can’t imagine there not being a school nurse on staff!) Most of the girls shrug this off: what can you do- but the redhead goes full activist mode. She tries to speak to the principal, makes art to bring awareness to the normalcy of menstruation (after all, half the population has to deal with this), and finally stages a huge demonstration- but this draws unwanted attention to her friends, who didn’t intend to do anything quite so radical. But it’s also a story just about high school life- mean girls that pick on others, first crushes, cramming for tests, awkward dates that don’t turn out the way you’d hoped. One girl seems to like girls instead of guys, but isn’t sure how to let anybody know. There’s also more issues with bodies addressed- some girls develop sooner than others, one of the friends has particularly painful cramps and is seeing doctors to find out if something’s wrong. And plenty of jokes and the ordinary embarrassing or frantic moments that can happen when you’re dealing with having a period.

I think overall this book would be a great discussion starter, if your kid (pre-teen or older) isn’t put off by the subject matter! My ten-year-old picked it up off the library shelf on her own, and wasn’t shy about bringing up funny moments or questions to ask me. I read it when she was done, and glad I did. Personally, I wasn’t too keen on the artwork, but that’s a minor quibble.

Borrowed from the public library.

Rating: 3/5
332 pages, 2020

2 Responses

  1. Oh I definitely went to schools without a school nurse on staff. Is that standard? Still? I am not even sure we had one at my first, quite well-funded elementary school, and I know we didn’t have one at my middle or high schools.

    1. Really? I’m surprised! Every school I attended, or that my kids attended, had a nurse. I never imagined a school wouldn’t. What if a kid gets sick in class or hurt on the field? are they just sent home or does the teacher do basic first aid- bandaids, ice, etc?

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