Whether it’s creating them yourself or enjoying those created by others, losing yourself in stories has long been a great way to escape from the difficulties of reality. Just Pretend, the latest graphic novel offering from Little, Brown Young Readers, explores that very thing. The memoir from Tori Sharp follows the cartoonist as a young girl, and the important role that stories have played in her life growing up.

Here’s how Little, Brown describes Just Pretend:

Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands. Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.

Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.

Credit: Sabreen Lakhani

Just Pretend is Sharp’s debut graphic novel, though she has previously had sequential work included in a successfully-funded Kickstarter anthology. Her portfolio displays exceptional versatility, and the excerpt reflects nicely how the fantasy worlds her character builds in the book interact with the real world of the story.

Check out the exclusive six-page excerpt below. Just Pretend is available in stores now.