Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: A First Time for Everything

  • A First Time for Everything
  • by Dan Santat
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Release date: February 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781626724150

During the summer between middle and high school, author/illustrator Dan Santat took a life-changing trip with a group of students to Europe. Santat’s graphic novel memoir recounts his childhood and early adolescence, growing up in a small, do-nothing town as a child of immigrants. After a rough middle school experience, his chronically ill mother encourages him to sign up for a three week trip with other students on a cultural exchange journey across Europe. Filled with once-in-a-lifetime firsts, Dan discovers that beneath the exterior we share with the world, we are all much more alike than different.

Illustrated in Santat’s signature style, the full-color drawings are impeccably detailed and full of humor. Readers vicariously experience all the big emotions and experiences that accompany being a teen in the transitional space between middle school and high school: big humiliation, exhilarating freedom, first crushes, and being open to what the universe has to offer, all told with an engaging, feel-good touch. Backmatter includes information on Santat’s writing process, images of souvenirs, as well as actual photos taken on his transformative European adventure.

This book will appeal to teens in the 12-15 age range, graphic novel readers, and anyone with a love of or desire to travel. Also try Passport by Sophia Glock, Messy Roots by Laura Gao, and Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

-Katy Henderson

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: December 6, 2022

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.