Middle School, High School,
Schwartz & Wade / Random 210 pp. 12/12
In this introspective graphic novel, Sadie is apprehensive about changing high schools during her sophomore year. She breaks the ice with her classmates by casually dropping hints about her severe peanut allergy. Soon Sadie’s courage in the face of her serious medical condition and her dramatic tales of near-miss incidents attract new friends and a love interest.
There’s just one problem: Sadie isn’t really allergic to peanuts. Inspired by a friend’s suggestion that a new school provides “a do-over” and even the possibility of popularity, she has seized the opportunity to reinvent herself. Sadie orders a medical ID bracelet and researches epinephrine injectors to lend credence to her lies even as she agonizes over whether to ’fess up.
This secret, shared only with readers, places Sadie in a series of increasingly awkward situations, from cringe-worthy (the bronze-plated peanut on a chain with which new beau Zoo proudly presents her) to utterly humiliating (a school bake sale “emergency” where the truth is revealed). Underneath the many funny moments runs a poignant current as readers recognize—better than Sadie herself—the high costs of her dishonesty.
Pen-and-ink drawings, digitally colored in blue tones with Sadie always in red, capture nuances of a wide range of emotions: anxiety, self-satisfaction, guilt, betrayal, and ultimately, forgiveness.
January/February 2013 issue of The Horn Book
Thanks to Katie Bircher and The Horn Book for the great review!
To pre-order Peanut, click here.