Wednesday, March 10, 2021



Allergic is a graphic novel that focuses on Maggie, a 10-year-old girl who is going through a rough patch. She is just about to start at a brand new school. Her mother is pregnant and due to deliver within a month, so she and her husband are very preoccupied. Her younger brothers Liam and Noah are twins who are always together, usually doing something rambunctious. She feels like the fifth wheel in her house, although all that is about to change, because she is going to get a dog for her birthday. But...

the catch is, she finds out that she's wildly allergic to dogs. And later on, after a doctor's visit, she learns that she is allergic to anything that has fur or feathers, and this news devastates her. She feels that her sole way of finding companionship is lost. She does try some other pets, like lizards and fish, but things do not really work out. Luckily, a girl a little older than her, Claire, moves in next door, and the two become fast friends. That is, until Claire gets a dog.

This graphic novel is aimed at tween or slightly older readers, and it touches on the ways that family and friendship dynamics shift. I like how it normalizes how people can isolate themselves, even unintentionally, and how they do not always know what others are thinking or feeling. Also, it has plenty of  information about how and why people have allergies, and how they need to deal with them. A big aspect of this book hinges on communication and how that is key to dealing with life. I can see this book being popular in the same way that The Babysitter Club graphic novels are.

This book was a collaboration between author Megan Wagner Lloyd and artist Michelle Mee Nutter. Lloyd has written a number of children's picture books, and Nutter does design work as well as commercial art. Both contribute to make a story that is relatable as well as full of bright, expressive, and colorful illustrations. They speak about their work on Allergic in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read of this book have been positive. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews summed it up as "a heartachingly enjoyable tale of resilience." Publishers Weekly called it a "warm and well-paced story." Avery Kaplan called it "a bright and welcoming middle grade graphic novel."

Allergic was published by Scholastic Graphix, and they offer a preview and more info about it here

A preview copy was provided by the publisher.

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