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Allergic – 5 Star Book Review

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Welcome to the February 14th stop on the blog tour for Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd, organized by Rockstar Book Tours. Be sure to look for other stops on the tour for excerpts and other reviews, and check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

About the Book

Allergic: A Graphic Novel
by Megan Wagner Lloyd
Illustrated by Michelle Mee Nutter

Publishing 2 March 2021
Graphix

Genre: MG Graphic Novel, General Fiction
Page Count: 240
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!

At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd uses inspiration from her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK
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My Review

My Rating: 5 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.

I was granted eARC access to Allergic through Edelweiss as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Rockstar Book Tours. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

Allergic is the story of Maggie, a fifth-grader about to start the school year at a new school who wants nothing more in the world than a puppy on her birthday. Her world comes crashing down when she finds out that not only is she allergic to dogs, she’s presumably allergic to all furry and feathered creatures. This limits her pet options significantly! Meanwhile at home Maggie’s parents are preparing for the arrival of her newest younger sibling, and her twin younger brothers are always trying to find out what she’s up to and spoil her fun. When Maggie makes friends with the new neighbour girl Claire, an only child living with her divorced dad who caters to her every whim, Maggie thinks Claire has it all and loves spending time next door at her house… until she gets a dog.

First of all, the artwork throughout this book is an absolute joy to look at! I love the art style. The pictures alone tell a great deal of the story, which will make this book so much more accessible to many young readers, and they’ll help hold the interest of the rest. I appreciate the choice to draw and colour Maggie, Claire, and their male classmate all as different racial backgrounds, yet the text doesn’t bring any attention to this. This is great diversity representation and positive reinforcement by simply presenting it in a positive light without making it worthy of comment within the context of a story that’s not at all about race. I have looked at a few other reviews (I often do that do decide if I want to read a book) and I saw a comment that Maggie’s grandmother looks too white for Maggie’s clearly mixed heritage. My first comment is skin tone varies! My second comment is what if she’s the paternal grandmother? It’s the mother who’s darker in complexion like Maggie.

I’m a mother, and I teared up several times reading this book. My heart broke for Maggie when she couldn’t have pets, when she felt betrayed by Claire getting a pet despite knowing Maggie was allergic, when Maggie’s various quests to obtain a pet anyway didn’t work out, and when she worried that something could happen to her mom during childbirth and that no matter what things would never be the same. I also shed a few happy tears over tender moments between Maggie and her siblings. This is such a well written emotional roller coaster that teaches a lot more lessons than just the obvious ones about allergies!

I very much love the fact that this is an interesting, engaging, full-length graphic novel for middle-grade readers that focuses on explaining and normalizing allergies, and walks through the journey of a kid learning to cope with the life-altering news that they have a severe allergy. A lot of kids are going to feel seen, and a lot of kids are going to better understand their friends, family members, and classmates.

This book only made me stop and question anything three times. The biggest one being when Claire’s father agreed to drive Claire and Maggie to the pet store on a whim. This is when I realized that he’s fallen deep into the trap of “I owe it to my kid to agree to everything to keep her happy because divorce,” and while this is so realistic and also potentially presents a great vehicle for having related discussion with kids, I hope young readers don’t just idolize Claire’s dad and give their parents too much trouble! Second, although hedgehog fell off Maggie’s potential alternative pets list because they’re illegal in California (really?) I must offer from personal experience that it is absolutely possible to be allergic to hedgehogs. I can’t touch them! They’re the only animal I’m allergic to. Third, and I know this could be an unedited proof thing that nobody’s going to see to giggle at in the final copy, but Maggie’s Mom is in maternity ward room 304… on the 2nd floor. (Coincidentally that’s the floor the labour & delivery department is on at my local hospital, too.)

Overall this is an amazingly well done middle-grade graphic novel and I would highly recommend this one to everyone interested in this sort of book and everyone buying books for kids at this reading level. It’s fun, it reaches a lot of life lessons, and it’s a neutral enough topic that it should apply to a wide range of young readers.

About the Author

MEGAN WAGNER LLOYD is the author of several picture books, including Paper Mice, Building Books, Finding Wild, and A Fort-Building Time. She lives in the Washington DC area. Visit her online at meganwagnerlloyd.com.

Website | Instagram | Amazon | Goodreads

About the Illustrator

MICHELLE MEE NUTTER graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, 3×3 Illustration, Creative Quarterly, and more. Michelle lives in Boston. Visit her online at michellemee.com.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Alert!

3 winners will win a finished copy of ALLERGIC, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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