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Stepping Stones

(Peapod Farm #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  3,353 ratings  ·  639 reviews
Jen is used to not getting what she wants. So suddenly moving to the country and getting new stepsisters shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad.

Most of all, Jen did not want to get new "sisters," Andy and Re
224 pages
Published May 5th 2020 by Random House Graphic
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,353 ratings  ·  639 reviews

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Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was, at times, incredibly painful to read. Walter was borderline, if not straight out, emotionally abusive toward Jen and everyone made excuses for him. There was a lot of "Oh, that's just how he is. You just need to deal with it." And he never changed, never grew. Everyone just accommodated him and let him go on with his belittling and dismissing of Jen—and everyone else for that matter. In a graphic memoir/novel for adults, this behavior could be offered without anyone changing because mo ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
What did this author, Lucy Knisley, do. . . break into my childhood home, rummage through the attic, and then read my 9th grade diary??

How did she know exactly how much I hated my mother's boyfriend after my parents divorced?

(Did she know about the voodoo doll, too??)

I gotta tell you. . . this middle grades graphic novel hit almost too close to home for me. Poor Jen (who mom's new boyfriend, Walter, calls “Jenny” no matter how many times she corrects him) gets dragged into mom's new romance and
Kayla Miller
A realistic take on the changes and stress brought about by divorce and a big move.
The illustrations are amazing and the characters were engaging.

There is one issue I really hope will be handled in the next book in the trilogy-- Jen's Mom's boyfriend, Walter. While I think it is realistic that at that age the girls would just deal with his behavior, I hope it's addressed in more detail.
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Though there's nothing ground-breaking here, I enjoyed this simple story of a young girl struggling to adapt to both a new step-family, AND life on a small farm.


The characters may not all be likable, but it's interesting to observe how they learn to get along. I see that this is book one in a series; I'll be happy to continue following Jen's rural adventures.
Sara Grochowski
I really, really loved a lot about this book, especially the depiction of life as a farm kid and navigating relationships with (step)siblings. That said, the stepfather character felt really unhealthy to me and, in my opinion, needed to apologize for his behavior towards the main character (and possibly demonstrate more personal growth). I do believe the main character and supporting characters are modeled after the author's own experience, and she does mention her real stepfather favorably in t ...more
Dave Schaafsma
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-middle-grades
A departure for the memoir comics storyteller Lucy Knisley, a semi-autobiographical (she talks about it in the afterword) middle grades graphic novel about a girl, Jen, who through divorce has to leave the city to live on a farm and learn to relate to her mom's new overbearing boyfriend and his bossy daughter (and a younger girl who is easier to get along with). So it's still memoirish, in a way, but I also imagined the project in some ways has to do with the fact that Knisley has become a mom. ...more
Julie Ehlers
Stepping Stones is the completely adorable story of Jen, a girl who, after her parents' divorce, is obliged to move with her mother and her mother's boyfriend from NYC to an upstate farm. Two stepsisters, who come to stay on weekends, are part of this new living arrangement. If you've read Knisley's earlier book Relish, the images of the farm and the farmer's market will feel familiar to you, and the book also contains some really cute pencil artwork ostensibly done by Jen (who is a thinly veile ...more
Rod Brown
Lucy Knisley takes a swerve from her usual memoirs for grown-ups into Raina Telgemeier juvenile territory with this fictionalized account of her childhood. Jen's mom has divorced her father and dragged her out of New York City to start a small farm upstate that they will be sharing with Mom's boyfriend and -- every weekend -- the daughters from his previous marriage. Adjusting to country life and two unofficial stepsisters is predictably troublesome for Jen, but the story is deftly told by Knisl ...more
Lisa Marie
Walter was impossible. It was too hard for me to see Jen (who is actually the author, Lucy) treated the way she was. My heart hurts for her.
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I mostly really enjoyed this story of Jen’s (involuntary) move to the country and struggles with farm chores and stepsisters. I had a version of this myself when I turned 10 and as someone who also wanted to stay inside and read all the time I related hard. The only part I didn’t like was her stepfather’s ceaseless petty meanness and total disregard of Jen’s feelings (and everyone just...letting him get away with it). In a memoir that would be one thing - annoying adult men usually don’t change ...more
One Code 431
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great book at first I was little annoyed at first with the stepdad but then I was okay... Whatever

Great story all over the place
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy Lucy Knisley's graphic novels and this one was very good. Walter was an annoying man and hopefully he will come around and treat Jen decently. The little girls got along fine and enjoyed the farmer's market as well as the chickens. ...more
On one hand, I sort of enjoyed this middle-grade graphic novel, which revolves around city girl Jen being uprooted from New York City to live on a farm with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend, Walter. Every weekend, Walter's two daughters come to stay with them as well, which causes further frustration for Jen. She eventually bonds with them, but continues to bash heads with Walter.

On the other hand, being a city girl who doesn't enjoy long bouts of nature, I found this concept horrifying: a child
Jessica Haider
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another one that I am reading with the kids. I generally love Lucy Knisley books so I am hopeful that this is a good one. :)
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Feeling good after reading this.

But don't want to write the review now.
Andrea (EvergreensAndBookishThings)
Oh, I am SO HAPPY that Lucy Knisley is doing middle grade fiction with her amazing drawing and storytelling.
In Stepping Stones, Jen’s coming of age story is told in the aftermath of her parents divorce, moving to the country from the big city, and gaining new family members she certainly did not ask for. It is heavily based on the author’s own experiences, and the emotions of Jen’s highs and lows are certainly on-point and easily identifiable. I couldn’t help but root for her, and her new family
So often, the baby chicks or the hens are eaten to teach the children a lesson. I am so glad that this didn't happen in this novel of a blended family.

I loved this book. Other reviewers are bitching about how rotten Jen's stepdad is, but since this is the first of a trilogy, I'm hoping that things will get better. What I liked about this is that the step-sisters got better, and that they weren't all black and white, and that Jen did learn to like them, despite them being bossy.

The author said t
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
City girl gets stuck on a farm taking care of chickens and then the boyfriend's daughters show up! This was an entertaining read with bright and engaging illustrations. We got glimpses of Jen's sketches during and between chapters. It was well balanced. The story will be a window for some and a door for others. Many kids have never taken care of chickens or helped run a farm stand. Likewise there are also lots of kids experiencing the growing pains of a blended family or that annoying new boyfri ...more
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read it in one sitting! This graphic novel is kinda a fictional story based on the author/illustrator Lucy Knisley’s own childhood experience of moving with her mom from the city to a farm in the country after her parents got divorced. The main character Jen stays with her mom and her mom’s new boyfriend, whose two daughters visit and help out at the farm and farmers’ market every weekend. It’s interesting to take a peek at life on a farm in the US, and Jen’s struggle to adapt to the new environ ...more
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, young-adult
Short and sweet. Jen is a city kid, used to the noise and bustle of New York. When her parents divorce, Jen is pulled a long with her mom's dream to live on a small farm upstate. Jen is saddled with feeding chickens, yard work, and helping run the booth at the weekly farmer's market. Also, every weekend her mom's boyfriend's two daughters arrive to share Jen's bedroom. It's hard to get used to all of these changes! But the tensions are all resolved fairly quickly. I really enjoyed the very charm ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This... may be one of my favorites from Lucy Knisley. (Although I'm holding out and have high hopes for a Linney/cat-themed book!) The characters are very relatable (which they should be, since they are so very autobiographical), and since I've always loved farms and farmers markets, etc, that was a nice environment to find myself in within this book.

Also welcome was that while I kind of (really) didn't like the way her mom's boyfriend talked to her or how dismissive the adults were of her unha
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2020
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very relatable and emotional. I feel sorry for girls being raised by a father figure who doesn't listen, and doesn't even respect the names they want to be called. At the same time, my heart goes out to the overworked mom who's trying to make the best choices for her own life. Expecting your kids to support you in those choices is maybe too much to ask, though. The kids just get dragged along for the ride. ...more
Laura I.
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always loved Lucy Knisley’s stuff, but I think she’s actually best at writing for middle grade! I found this graphic novel based on Knisley’s real life, about a girl who has moved from the city to a farm with her mom and step-family-to-be, to be pitch perfect. The art is fantastic, and all the little details are so great. I especially love the notebook drawings that the main character does, which also make up the main title page and chapter headings.

It’s hard to get the right balance when
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Even Knisley's fiction is autobiographical, but I'm okay with that. Cute art, as always, and an alright story, if not one I fully relate to - I always loved getting my hands dirty as a kid, so I would have been thrilled to move to a farm! ...more
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love to everyone except Walter. Can't wait for more graphic novels by Lucy Knisley! ...more
Diane Brown
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cute graphic novel about a girl moving to a farm, from the city, after her parents divorce. Follows her and her mother's boyfriends' daughters, as they learn about the farm and each other . Great read. ...more
Macklin R
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I always love how well Lucy Knisley is able to capture the Big Feelings of everyday moments. I loved watching the relationship between Jen and Andy blossom as they slowly learn each other's idiosyncrasies ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stepping Stones is beautiful, semi-autobiographical graphic novel for middle grade readers about coping with change and difficult family circumstances, finding your confidence at an awkward age, and the power of sisterhood. It feels real to life, but also hopeful.

Jen's life has suddenly changed dramatically. After her parents divorce, she moves from New York City to a rural farm in the country with her mom and her mom's annoying new boyfriend. She is suddenly responsibly for chickens and workin
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Beginning with an love for Archie comics and Calvin and Hobbes, Lucy Knisley (pronounced "nigh-zlee") has always thought of cartooning as the only profession she is suited for. A New York City kid raised by a family of foodies, Lucy is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago currently pursuing an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies. While completing her BFA at the School of the ...more

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