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by Ayun Halliday
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This graphic novel was okay read. I thought it was too preachy about being honest and not lying. ( )
"It is about a girl that transfers to a new school and pretends to have a peanut allergy. Later she learns that she should not have done that."
The cutesy illustrations belie the content meant for older teens. (There is a brief mention of autoerotic asphyxiation, and some talk of "fooling around.") For the most part I wasn't impressed with the writing or the plot, and the main character is pretty unlikeable. The story redeemed itself at the very end with a somewhat-happy-yet-realistic conclusion, but not enough for me to give it a better rating.
Peanut is a unique, but relatable graphic novel that is a very enjoyable read. Our main character is Sadie, who has just moved to a new town and is having trouble making friends and fitting in at her new high school. The solution? Fake a peanut allergy. At first everything goes smoothly, but soon it becomes harder and harder to cover up the lies she made and eventually she faces some repercussions.
I felt that this graphic novel was so relevant not only to a YA audience, but reaches out to all readers. Everyone has, at one point in their life, struggled to fit in or meet lots of new people in a new surrounding. When you move to a new place, join a club, etc. it can be hard and even scary to mingle with a crowd or simply find a topic that you can carry on a conversation with. The main moral of this story is not only to never fake ANY type of allergy to fit in with “a crowd”, but also not to lie to yourself or others. Be you, and if others can’t accept that then move on because they’re obviously not worth your friendship.
I also enjoyed the sketch-like drawing style used by the artist. All of the main characters are set apart from the rest by adding an additional splotch of color or extra details to their features and this makes them pop out against the blue and white color tone background.
Sadie is about to start a new school for the umpteenth time and when she doesn't immediately make friends at her new high school, she tries to make herself seem more interesting by saying she has a life-threatening peanut allergy. Once she does make some great new friends and starts dating a caring boyfriend, the lie hovers over her head all the time like a dark cloud.
This book read like a breeze as it is short and light. Although the characters are high schoolers, this is a much lighter YA novel than most and could work well for older middle school kids as well. For the most part, it rang fairly true, although perhaps there was a smidge too much stereotyping (e.g., the one-note "mean girls" of the school).
Without being overly preachy, the book shows how even one lie can wreak a lot of havoc and have serious consequences. Other positive messages to this book include portrayals of a mostly healthy relationship between Sadie and her boyfriend as well as between Sadie and her mother.
The mainly black and white sketch drawings are fitting to the book and do a good job expressing the various emotions of the characters. The main character of the book being the only one with a pink/red shirt and thus standing out from the crowd was perhaps a little too on the nose though.
Perhaps I'm reading too much into this but being the aunt of child with a genuine peanut allergy, I can't help but be a little concerned that this book's premise adds fuel to the fire of critics who claim that people with allergies are exaggerating or making it up altogether. I hope I'm wrong though.
Nervous about starting her sophomore year at a new high school, Sadie decides to make herself more interesting by claiming to be allergic to peanuts, but her lie quickly spirals out of control.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)741.5 — The arts Graphic arts and decorative arts Drawing & drawings Cartoons, Caricatures, Comics
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