Review: Peanut by Ayun Halliday & Paul Hoppe



Title: Peanut

Author: Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

"Before you write me off as a delusional psycho, think about what it’s like to be thrown into a situation where everyone knows everyone . . . and no one knows you." Sadie has the perfect plan to snag some friends when she transfers to Plainfield High—pretend to have a peanut allergy. But what happens when you have to hand in that student health form your unsuspecting mom was supposed to fill out? And what if your new friends want to come over and your mom serves them snacks? (Peanut butter sandwich, anyone?) And then there’s the bake sale, when your teacher thinks you ate a brownie with peanuts. Graphic coming-of-age novels have huge cross-over potential, and Peanut is sure to appeal to adults and teens alike.


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. 

Grade:  C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Sharon Cullen, Author of The Notorious Lady Anne


Please give Sharon Cullen a warm welcome! She’s visiting the virtual offices to chat about her new Loveswept release, The Notorious Lady Anne.  After the interview, enter for your chance to win a digital copy of her book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sharon] Taxi driver to 3 busy kids, chef, laundress, mediator, beauty addict (eyeshadow and lip glosses are my vice) & historical romance author.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Notorious Lady Anne?

[Sharon] The Notorious Lady Anne is about a strong-willed lady pirate bent on vengeance against the father who left her destitute. Her revenge has been eleven years in the making and nothing will stand in her way. Except for an arrogant, sexy nobleman who is trying to regain his life after a near fatal accident. He doesn’t believe in vengeance. She doesn’t believe in the goodness of people. Together they will prove the other wrong.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sharon] When I first started writing Lady Anne, there weren’t many stories out there about strong-willed, alpha heroines. I wanted to explore the concept. Except Nicholas refused to be put in the role of the beta hero. He became just as headstrong and obstinate as Anne. That’s when the story really took off and the sparks flew.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Anne?

[Sharon] Headstrong, obstinate, dangerous

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Nicholas had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sharon] Shipping off to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys. While Nicholas didn’t lose his leg, like the sailor in the song, he did almost lose his life in a naval battle.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Anne is never without.

[Sharon] Her dagger

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Nicholas’ pockets?

[Sharon]  This was a tough question. I’ve never really thought about what he would have in his pockets let alone what he wouldn’t have. So I asked my kids the question and this is what they came up with: iPhone, iPod and makeup. I laughed so hard that I thought I’d share with you.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Anne’s greatest regret?

[Sharon] That she was never enough for her mother. After Anne’s father left them, her mother’s health and mental well-being were never the same. Anne always believed that she was never enough to keep her mother alive.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sharon] Reading is a great influence. My family and my fellow writers are my other influences.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sharon] Time, time and more time. LOL. Seriously, I can write with pen and paper, chalkboard and chalk, computer, whatever. But what I really need is the time to write.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Sharon] Ken Follett’s Winter of the World. I love, love, love that series–the historical wrapped around the fiction as he follows the lives of a few families–and am sad he can’t write faster so the next book will come out 🙂

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sharon] Black Beauty. When I was ten I read the entire series and fell in love with reading. I was unstoppable after that, grabbing anything that had words in it. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sharon] I like spending time with my husband and kids. The kids are getting older now and aren’t home as much so a lot of the time its just my husband and I. It’s like we’re dating all over again.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sharon] I’m addicted to social networking. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, my website and my blog

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[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!


Ready to enter for your chance to win a Netgalley preview copy of The Notorious Lady Anne? Just fill out the widget below! Earn extra entries for following.

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Didn’t win? You can purchase The Notorious Lady Anne from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below.

About the  book:

From rising romance star Sharon Cullen comes a tale of the fiery passion between a noble naval officer and a female pirate that’s as tempestuous and as unpredictable as the sea.

Nicholas Addison, celebrated captain of the Blackwell Shipping Fleet, has agreed to take Mrs. Emmaline Sutherland aboard the Pride and ferry the raven-haired beauty across the Atlantic on what he imagines will be a routine trip. But when the ship is attacked by pirates, the seemingly innocent passenger is revealed to be none other than the infamous marauder Lady Anne, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of sailors everywhere—and whose seductive wiles commandeers Nicholas’s affections.
Lady Anne, a legend of the high seas, has spent the last eleven years plotting revenge against her father, the owner of Blackwell Shipping. She’s targeted the Pride in hopes of plundering its captain’s company secrets. But beneath her fierce courage and bitter determination, Anne has the delicate heart of a woman—a heart that cannot help falling for Nicholas. Now Anne must make a difficult choice: bring down Blackwell or surrender to love.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: The Reluctant Countess, Wild Rain, and Silk on the Skin.

About the author:

After earning a degree in journalism from Ohio University, Sharon found the stories inside her head were more interesting than what was going on in the world around her. Yet, it wasn’t until years later that she decided to pursue her secret dream of writing a romance novel. Since then she’s been published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance and contemporary romance and historical romance.

Sharon’s other job descriptions include chauffer, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.

If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her at her blog or her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.