Review of Doodles from the Boogie Down

Doodles from the Boogie Down Doodles from the Boogie Down
by Stephanie Rodriguez; illus. by the author; color by Andrea Bell
Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    208 pp.
4/23    9780451480651    $20.99
Paper ed.  9780451480668    $13.99
e-book ed.  9780593534052    $8.99

In this engaging graphic novel, it’s time for Steph to choose a high school, and her protective Dominican mom wants her to pick a nice Catholic school in the Bronx. But academics aren’t Steph’s strong suit—she’d rather spend time drawing. Her art teacher, Ms. ­Santiago, suggests she apply to LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, and even offers to help Steph with her portfolio. Steph’s mom won’t let her attend a public school, let alone one in Manhattan, so Steph comes up with a plan: if she fails the Catholic school entrance exam on purpose, LaGuardia will be her only option, and her mom will have to let her go. Can she keep her mom from finding out that she’s been visiting Manhattan art museums with Ms. Santiago? And next year, when Steph and her two best friends are at separate high schools, will their bond survive the split? Set in the year 2000, Steph’s world is full of time-period details, from landlines to AIM to Kid Cuisine, while dialogue includes 2000s slang and seamlessly interwoven Spanish language. Bright, cartoony illustrations allow moments of both comedy and expressive emotion. This slice-of-life story lets the characters and their relationships shine—it’s hard not to root for Steph to find the school of her dreams.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Bodie Shanis

Bodie Shanis is an editorial intern for The Horn Book, Inc., studying towards an MA in Children’s Literature and MFA in Writing for Children at Simmons University. 

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.