Peanut

 
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Peanut

So not fair, having to move during high school! Sadie is sure everyone at PCHS has known each other forever and won’t have time for new friends. When she decides to stand out by pretending that she has a severe allergy to peanuts, there’s no turning back.

The med-alert bracelet ordered in secret is on for school, off at home. Her “about me” essay for homeroom details the life-threatening incident that just a single peanut caused. The school nurse is understandably miffed when she doesn’t have the proper paperwork about her medical condition, but does let Sadie keep the emergency epi-pen in her backpack instead of the office – which is good, since Sadie really doesn’t have the prescription-only device.

She does make friends in Plainfield after all, like Lou, who would also like to cancel PE forever, and Zoo, the cute guy who’s decided that technology doesn’t make life better and forswears computers and cellphones. Zoo’s communications are intricate origami notes, which he delivers to friends’ homes by bike, between trips to the library to consult printed reference books for homework (done with pen and paper, of course). Finding Zoo’s notes in her locker makes Sadie’s day special.

So, Zoo and Sadie are becoming more-than-friends. Why can’t she just come clean about not really being allergic to peanuts? How can he come to her house when Zoo might say something that makes Mom suspicious about all of Sadie’s online research about epi-pens and allergies? Why did she decide on such a radical way to stand out at her new school?

Big bake sale, big muffins, big trouble! What happens next? Read Peanut to find out!Hoppe uses sparing amounts of red to accent his black and white drawings of the Plainfield Community High School crowd as Halliday’s story of trying-too-hard to fit in follows Sadie through her first semester in a new town.

Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com

*****

"A  peanut sat on a railroad track
His  heart was all a-flutter.
Along  came the 6:15
Toot!  Toot! Peanut butter!
--old  camp song
“Life  isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
--George  Bernard Shaw

When  Sadie Wildhack moves to a new community -- yet again -- with her
mother, just  before the onset of her sophomore year of high school, she settles
upon a bold,  if misguided, strategy for winning friends and influencing
people: Having met  someone in her previous town who was dealing with a
potentially life-threatening  peanut allergy, Sadie decides to go online and buy
herself a medical alert  bracelet that will serve as her entree into the
peanut allergy  club.

"Before  you write me off as some kind of messed-up delusional
psycho...think about what  it's like to be thrown into a situation where everyone knows
everyone....and no  one knows you.”

Sadie's  dramatically recreating herself in this manner does, indeed, yield
her some new  friends and, more importantly, nets her a boyfriend. Zoo is a
cute, anti-tech  rebel who is very attentive to her.

But  there are consequences to having a severe peanut allergy -- even if it
is not a  real one -- and the author does an excellent job of probing a
variety of  situations that can arise (and go awry) for Sadie. The close-calls
with reality  have Sadie longing to come clean, but she's got so much
invested in her  fictitious condition that she finds it impossible to 'fess up.
Written  in graphic novel form, PEANUT is a ticking time bomb of a
contemporary tween  tale, that will have readers becoming more and more certain that
the next  complication will surely expose Sadie's deception for all the
world to  see.

The  illustrations for PEANUT are rendered in black and white except for
Sadie's  various tops, which are all done in red. For those of us who are not
seasoned  readers of graphic novels, this artwork permits us to effortlessly
focus in on  Sadie, even when she is situated amidst a bunch of  students.

It  is healthy and essential for adolescents to be trying on different
identities.  PEANUT shows us how sometimes an identity can come equipped with
some pretty  heavy baggage.

Recommended by:  Richie  Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California, USA
Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com_ 

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