HALLIDAY, Ayun. Peanut. illus. by Paul Hoppe. 216p. Random/Schwartz and Wade. Jan. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-375-86590-9; PLB $18.99. ISBN 978-0-375-96590-6.
Gr 7 Up–Worried about transferring to a new school, Sadie comes up with the idea of faking a peanut allergy. She thinks that pretending to have a life-threatening condition will draw attention to her and generate sympathy. Her predictions come true, and she makes several new friends and even attracts a boyfriend. But as time passes, Sadie finds it harder and harder to keep up with her lies, and her story begins to unravel. The girl who became best known for having a peanut allergy is heading toward a future in which she will become best known for being a liar, and she will have to deal with the backlash from people who knew her under false pretenses. Sadie is an empathetic character, and readers will relate to her nervousness about fitting in, her emotional tug-of-war with her mother, and the ups and downs of her friendships. Hoppe’s cartoon illustrations are primarily in grayscale but he also uses one color (red) to highlight Sadie’s character or objects like a flower from her boyfriend. Librarians, teachers, and parents should definitely share this book with teens looking for realistic graphic novels about schools, friendship, peer pressure, or moral choices.–Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library