If you know nothing else about Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward, know this: it needs to be on the shelves of every school and public library. That may sound bombastic, but Awkward deserves the high praise. It’s one of the best reads I’ve had—comic or otherwise—in years.

Middle schooler Penelope (Peppi) Torres is new in town. That’s hard enough in and of itself, but unfortunately for her, she quite literally fumbles her first day at her new school. Not only does she trip in the middle of the hallway and scatter all of her belongings, but she freaks out under the pressure of jeering passersby and pushes Jaime Thompson, the unpopular nerd who stops to help her pick up her books. She regrets it immediately, but is too shy to apologize. Every time she tries to work up the nerve to speak to Jaime, she’s overcome with awkwardness.

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