Thursday, August 05, 2021

Middle-Grade Graphic Novel Review: Allergic

In July, I squeezed in a quick middle-grade graphic novel, among the Big Books for #BigBookSumer. I read Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, and I'm glad I did! It was a fun book that surprised me with its emotional depth.

All Maggie wants for her tenth birthday is a dog, and she wakes up that morning so excited for her family's trip to the animal shelter. She finds the perfect puppy, who seems to like her as much as she likes him, until ... she breaks out in hives and her face swells up! A visit to an allergist reveals that Maggie is severely allergic to anything with feathers or fur. She is devastated, and this new development causes problems at school, too. She tries out other (non-furred or -feathered) pets, and even a secret pet, but nothing seems to work. She also just started a new school, where she feels left out, but her life improves when she finds a new best friend named Claire who just moved in next door. She also makes another friend at school who has allergy problems of his own. In addition to Maggie's pet woes, her mom is about to have a new baby, and Maggie's not sure where she'll fit into the new family dynamic.

Sample pages from Allergic

I expected just a light story here, but this novel had more depth to it. It really dug into Maggie's pet problems (and other issues), showing how shattered she is to discover her allergies and all the different ways that they affect her life. The novel doesn't make light of living with allergies but takes the topic seriously. The story also delves into issues of siblings, family changes, and the highs and lows of friendship. The illustrations feature appealing, full-color, realistic drawings that beautifully convey Maggie's struggles, as well as the joys of friendship and family. I enjoyed every page of this story, leading to a very satisfying conclusion.

237 pages, Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.


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  1. My first "real world" roommate desperately wanted a pet in our small apartment, but I was allergic to cats so we went to the bunny adoption place, rubbed a bunny all over me, and went away for 24 hours. No allergy so I lived with a bunny for a few years.

    1. I'm enjoying the visual of you rubbing a rabbit all over yourself to test for allergies! lol My husband and son are both very allergic to cats, though oddly, my son can tolerate SOME cats. He had a friend in middle school with 2 cats - one he couldn't get near because he reacted so badly and the other he could cuddle and pet with no reaction! Glad you could have a bunny :) We had a series of them when I was a kid!

  2. I finally bought a copy of this book after seeing your recommendation! It seems right up my alley—I love that it's a graphic novel, of course, and I'm also thrilled to see a book talking about allergies (of which I have many—food, animals, pollen, you name it). Hopefully I can get this read soon! Thanks so much for the great review!

    1. Sorry to hear you struggle with allergies, too - us, too! It's part of immune issues, so each of us has different ones. Hope you enjoy the book!