Allergic: A Graphic Novel

by Megan Wagner Lloyd (Author) Michelle Mee Nutter (Illustrator)

Allergic: A Graphic Novel
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

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 the new baby they're expecting, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie thinks a new puppy 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 draws on her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-6—The oldest in her family, Maggie is often left attention-starved among her younger twin brothers and working parents, especially now that her mom is pregnant, but a puppy will change that. However, the much-anticipated trip to the animal shelter ends with Maggie itching, sneezing, and breaking out in hives—turns out she is allergic to anything with fur or feathers. A puppy is out of the question, and she must endure allergy shots. Maggie makes a best friend in new neighbor Claire but feels insecure and even jealous—Claire's father seems to let her do anything she wants, and when Claire adopts a puppy, Maggie is sent into a tailspin. Still, Maggie perseveres, realizing that no one's life is perfect, learning to live with allergies, and looking forward to her new sibling's arrival. Readers will root for this realistic and relatable fifth grader, who's capable of kindness well as envy and self-doubt. Lloyd folds in information about allergy tests, anaphylaxis, EpiPens, and other facts that Maggie and her friend Sebastian, who also has allergies, recite to each other. Layouts rely on three to four large panels per page, creating a smooth visual flow; Nutter's muted, uncluttered art has a cozy feel. Maggie and her family are brown-skinned, Claire is Asian, and Sebastian is white. VERDICT Maggie makes new pals here—she'll find even more friends in elementary and middle school libraries, where readers will easily identify with her trials and accomplishments.—Thomas Maluck, Richland Lib., SC

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

This sincere graphic novel follows 10-year-old Maggie Wilson, who, hoping to adopt a puppy on a birthday visit to an animal shelter, instead learns that she's highly allergic to any animal with fur or feathers. The discovery compounds existing feelings of loneliness--her younger twin brothers have each other, her parents are preparing to welcome a new baby, and Maggie's starting at a new school thanks to redrawn boundary lines. New neighbor Claire, an only child with a permissive artist father, is a promising friend, and both appreciate the other's family until Claire gets a dog, and Maggie feels betrayed by both her body and her bestie. The girls resolve their differences through honest conversation, and Maggie begins to find her place in her family and her way to new passions. Debut illustrator Nutter's realistic art cues Maggie and her siblings as biracial against a suburban Sacramento, Calif., backdrop. In this warm and well-paced story, Lloyd (Paper Mice) shows with nuance how empathy and connection can help a person navigate circumstances outside their control, making this an encouraging tale for young readers engaging with the world of pets, family, and friendships. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator's agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary. (Mar.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Praise for Allergic:

Allergic is the sweetest story you'll read all year. A touching chronicle of a young girl's severe allergies woven into a meaningful journey of friendship, family, and self-discovery. — Terri Libenson, New York Times bestselling author of Invisible Emmie

Readers will root for this realistic and relatable fifth grader, who's capable of kindness as well as envy and self-doubt... readers will easily identify with her trials and accomplishments. — School Library Journal

Vibrant... easy to recommend. — Booklist

This book is awsome

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Megan Wagner Lloyd
Megan Wagner Lloyd is the author of the graphic novel Allergic, as well as the picture books Finding Wild, Fort-Building Time, Building Books, and Paper Mice. Megan Wagner Lloyd lives with her family in the Washington, DC, area.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2021
Little Maverick Reading List
Selection 2022

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