Author: Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe
May Contain Spoilers
When I received this book, I was a bit mystified. Why, oh why would anyone pretend to have a fatal peanut allergy? Baffled, I dug right into this graphic novel, intrigued to see if there was a compelling reason for Sadie to fabricate such a serious health issue. After finishing the book, I have to say that I didn’t find it. While the characters are likable, the rationale behind Sadie’s pretend illness just didn’t cut it for me. Sadie’s little white lie, which quickly spirals out of control, is spun in an effort to be more popular at her new school.
After talking to a girl about her medical alert bracelet, Sadie is so fascinated by the thought of having a severe peanut allergy that she orders a bracelet of her own. I wanted to question how she was able to accomplish this, online, without a credit card or her mother’s knowledge, but I didn’t. I just followed along with Sadie as she experiences the unintended consequences of her little lie. A concerned teacher has her freaked out because she hasn’t turned in a health form, signed by her mother, to the school nurse, and that EpiPen that she’s supposed to carry with her at all times? Yeah, she needs a prescription to have access to that prop. When a new friend asks to see it, she flips out on him. When her new boyfriend thinks that she’s eaten a chip cooked in peanut oil, she realizes that living with this lie isn’t going to be easy.
The thing that kept me engaged in the story was Sadie’s fear of discovery. Afraid to fess up to her new friends, she just keeps digging herself into a deeper and deeper hole. She is terrified that the truth will come out, and when it does, that she will lose all of the friends that she’s made. When reality does come crashing down around her, it is every bit as awful as she feared. I think that the fallout was shortchanged, and that mending her bridges went too easy for her. From her first day of school, the image of herself that she projected was all based on fallacy, and the small amount of page time given for her repentance was disappointing.
The art is quirky and it works well with the tone of the story. I loved the splash of color from Sadie’s clothes.
Review copy provided by publisher