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Children's Nonfiction General

The Tryout: A Graphic Novel

by (author) Christina Soontornvat

illustrated by Joanna Cacao

Scholastic Inc
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
General, Friendship, Cheerleading
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7






This pitch perfect graphic memoir about courage and competition, friendship and belonging is perfect for fans of Smile, New Kid, Rollergirl, and Real Friends.


“A captivating middle-grade gem.” — The New York Times Book Review


“Funny, relatable, and genuine.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review


“Captures every nuanced emotion.” — School Library Journal, starred review


“Genuinely nail-biting.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


“Cringe-worthy in the best possible way…inspiring and insightful.” — Shelf Awareness, starred review


“Delightfully expressive…a standout.” — Booklist


“Illustrated and told in a way that every middle school student can relate to. Captures the poignancy of the emotional rollercoaster that [they] experience every day.” — School Library Connection, recommended


When cheerleading tryouts are announced, Christina and her best friend, Megan, literally jump at the chance to join the squad. As two of the only kids of color in the school, they have always yearned to fit in—and the middle school cheerleaders are popular and accepted by everyone. But will the girls survive the terrifying tryouts, with their whole grade watching? And will their friendship withstand the pressures of competition?


Hilarious and highly relatable, The Tryout by two-time Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat and shining new talent Joanna Cacao will make you laugh, cry, and cheer!

About the authors

Christina Soontornvat is the author of two Newbery Honor books A Wish in the Dark and All Thirteen, which also won the Kirkus Prize and a Sibert Honor distinction. She is also the author of Scholastic’s beloved fantasy series Diary of an Ice Princess, and the picture books The Ramble Shamble Children, The Blunders, and Simon at the Art Museum, as well as the forthcoming To Change a Planet. Christina holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Science Education. She spent a decade working in the science museum field, where she designed programs and exhibits to get kids excited about science and STEM. Christina lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two young children, and one old cat. You can learn more about her work at

Christina Soontornvat's profile page

Joanna Cacao is a Canadian-Filipino artist and illustrator who lives in Winnipeg with her Pomeranian, Danny. She loves working on magical and fantastical stories. Growing up in front of a TV, Joanna immediately became obsessed with any show or film that had a great story and set of characters. Her favorite shows consist of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Downton Abbey, and Gravity Falls. Her biggest influences come from various manga, as well as Ghibli and Disney films. She has a background in 3D Animation, and has self-published a queer webcomic: Toxic for You.

Joanna Cacao's profile page

Editorial Reviews


“The plot alone is enough to keep young readers flipping the pages. (I held my breath when the final roster of cheerleaders was announced.) But like all good books about growing pains, this captivating middle-grade gem contains many moments that will resonate with young and old alike.” — The New York Times Book Review


★ “This superlative graphic memoir is a funny, relatable, and genuine story of friendship and belonging. . . . The jokes, daydreams, and quips are delightful without overshadowing or diminishing the impact of [Christina’s] experiences with racism and exclusion. The attractive, expressive illustrations feature clean lines and bright colors. A funny, painfully honest look at a middle schooler finding her way.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review


★ “Soontornvat’s lived and emotional experiences come through loud and clear….Cacao’s manga-inspired artwork captures every nuanced emotion. . . . Readers of this empowering graphic memoir will want to invite Christina to sit at their table to share food, stories, and the secrets to self-confidence.” — School Library Journal, starred review


★ “Soontornvat’s denouement is genuinely nail-biting, and the girls’ earnest love for cheerleading is infectious, despite their experiences with outward prejudice. Via emotive close-ups, Cacao confidently conveys the girls’ persistence, fluidly injecting their athletic pursuits with lively energy using bright color palettes and varied character design.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


★ “Soontornvat's memoir is cringe-worthy in the best possible way. . . . brought to life with gorgeous illustration from self-taught comic artist Joanna Cacao. . . . The Tryout is an inspiring and insightful graphic memoir for anyone who simply wants to fit in.” — Shelf Awareness, starred review


"The art is delightfully expressive, and the characters’ personalities shine in each panel. A standout addition to any graphic autobiography collection." — Booklist


“The trials and tribulations that Christina and her friends go through as they try to find their niche in school, including teasing and bullying, are illustrated and told in a way that every middle school student can relate to. The story is told with a sense of humor and captures the poignancy of the emotional rollercoaster that students in middle school experience every day. . . . The illustrations truly enhance the text, giving just enough detail to fill in the events without being distracting or detracting from the story being told.” — School Library Connection, recommended


The Tryout beautifully captures the struggles and pressures of wanting to fit in. As a fellow Thai-American, Christina brought a tear to my eye.” — Dan Santat, New York Times bestselling creator of The Aquanaut

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