The Middle School Confidential apps written by Annie Fox are graphic novel “so-real-you’ll-squeal teen adventures” from Free Spirit Publishing and developer Electric Eggplant aimed at 11–14 year olds. Each offers helpful social advice through a cast of relatable teens “just trying to figure out what middle school is all about” while coping with issues that will resonate with readers. The mantra — “There is only one way to be like everyone else…there are a zillion ways to be you” — is certainly valuable, and veteran graphic-novel artist Matt Kindt‘s buoyant and upbeat illustrations plus quizzes, empowerment tools, and quotes from real kids supplement the fictional vignettes and help to drive the message home.
Book one, Be Confident in Who You Are (2011), offers confidence-building tips, positive affirmations, and concluding summaries of the chapter’s topic (“Doing things just to get people to like you can lead to disrespecting yourself”). Real Friends vs. the Other Kind (January 2012), book two, imparts assertions on the nature of friendship, interpersonal relation skills, avoiding pressure, being there for your friends, and an introduction to the dating world.
The comic book–style format may be appealing to the target audience and help the (sometimes didactic) stories go down easier. Though the information might be obvious to more mature preteens, others will benefit from the rehashing of basic socializing techniques.
Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch (requires iOS 4.3 or later); $2.99. Recommended for intermediate and middle school users.