In Forget Me Nat, the second graphic novel in Maria Scrivan’s charming middle-grade series, the story builds on the groundwork laid by the first book, developing deeper character dynamics and delivering in funny and unexpected ways.
In the first entry in the series (and Scrivan’s debut graphic novel), Nat Enough, the eponymous Nat was forced to recognize that she was engaged in a toxic relationship with her “friend,” Lily. In that story, Nat had to grapple with the fact that Lily had become outright hostile, essentially abandoning her in favor of a new friend, Alex. At first, having Lily back as a friend seemed like the most important goal for Nat, and Nat even fantasizes about changing herself in order to become an irresistible friend for Lily.
However, by the conclusion of Nat Enough, Nat has realized that she needs to be satisfied with herself if she is going to have positive, healthy friendships. Furthermore, thanks to the acceptance of the friends Nat had made while Lily was being cruel towards her, Nat is able to recognize that she has innate, unique qualities that make her interesting without having to cater to the interests and preferences of her friends.
In addition to Nat’s personal journey over the course of Nat Enough, there is another important element that is introduced by the first book in the series: the foundations of the romance which provides the drama in Forget Me Nat.
Forget Me Nat
In Forget Me Nat, Nat has discovered her self-worth, so now everything is simple and straightforward, right? Think again! While Nat may have grown plenty over the course of Nat Enough, it turns out that the course of true love (or at least true crushes) never did run smooth.
One of the best ways that Forget Me Nat builds on Nat Enough is by further exploring the character traits we learned about Nat from the first book. Just like her propensity to try and make herself more likable to Lily by adopting the favorites and preferences of her former friend, Nat is prone to attempting to make herself more appealing to Derek by aping his every move (right down to his preference for pineapple pizza – woof).
The truth of the matter is, many of us engaged in this type of behavior while trying to impress our first crushes, and just like Nat learns, it isn’t the best way to gain the attention of the object of one’s affection! Forget Me Nat captures the realistic, relatable experience of making this first romantic misstep, and presents it in a funny (but still entirely empathetic) way.
In addition to Nat’s development, Forget Me Nat also builds on the character work done for the supporting cast in Nat Enough, most notably through a campaign speech delivered by Nat’s classmate Shawn (which results in a gag so hilarious I cannot possibly spoil it here).
A funny, colorful series
One of the highlights of the Nat series has been the way Scrivan brings her well-honed skills as a syndicated daily newspaper cartoonist to the drawing table. Scrivan’s skill at spinning a gag – either in single panel or through the reactions and interactions of her character – is evident at every turn.
This skillset benefits the stories in different ways throughout both Nat books. For one, incredibly relatable showcases of embarrassing middle school moments are rendered laugh-out-loud funny instead of unbearably cringe-worthy.
And perhaps best of all, on each of the pages announcing a new chapter there is a one-page gag comic starring Nat’s cat and dog. On these pages, readers get a newspaper strip-style gag that may not be related to the story, but for those who (like me) came to comics through the daily funnies, these pages are essentially catnip.
On top of this, both Nat Enough and Forget Me Nat are beautifully colored, and an absolute joy to behold.
Do Nat Wait Any Longer
If you are looking for a funny, readable book that explores some extremely relatable growing pains, then Nat Enough and Forget Me Nat will be right up your alley. And for those middle school readers who might feel like they’re alone in the challenges they face with friendship and romance, this series will show them that nothing could be further from the truth.