Published: March 2021
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.
Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd is a fairly standard coming-of-age story with a small twist: when protagonist Maggie seeks to find comfort and understanding in a new pet, she finds instead that she is allergic to anything with fur or feathers! Readers of middle-grade graphic novels will recognize the basic plot structure and the themes of finding one’s place in one’s family, but they will likely appreciate the humor and the cuteness nonetheless. Allergic may not be a standout book, but it will appeal to the crowd who loves books such as Smile, the Babysitters Club, and Roller Girl.
Writing a review for a book that is generally good but also unremarkable always proves difficult. Allergic possesses all the elements that should please readers of this type of story: a winning and sympathetic lead, a dash of humor, some friendship drama to liven things up, and some cute animals to melt some hearts. Even so, the book does not really distinguish itself from the many similar offerings on the market. I think the target audience will enjoy it for what it is, but rave reviews from adults or awards being bestowed seems more unlikely.
The art style, too, is appealing, but unremarkable. It feels appropriate for the tone of the story, it has that cartoony vibe that will please fans of Raina Telegemeier, and it gets the job done. Perhaps individuals who know more about art could comment more but, as a general reader, I mainly found I did not notice the illustrations at all, either in a good way or a bad way.
Allergic is the type of book likely to be enjoyed by tween readers who enjoy similar fare or who are willing to pick up just about anything, as a long as it is a comic. Adult readers who are more familiar with all the similar books on the market may be harder to impress, though they will likely find it pleasant, as well. In the end, Allergic does not stand out from its competitors, but it is a nice enough way to spend a few hours.