Peanut, by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe (book review) – allergy joke gone wrong

book cover of Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe, published by Random HouseTransferring into a new high school,
Everyone else has been here forever.
How can someone get noticed in such a crowd?

Peanut allergies are certainly no laughing matter, but one casual conversation in a fast-food place sets in motion Sadie’s whole new persona to make her unusual enough to stand out at Plainfield Community High School.

Once she makes new friends, she’d like to drop her fake allergy, but doesn’t have the courage to do it. And no way is she telling her mom about all this. How long can Sadie keep up her double life?

If you can’t find Peanut  at your local library, ask them to order it. Or try an independent bookstore which may have gotten copies on the graphic novel’s December publication day.

So, how far would you go to be noticed by “the right people” at your school or workplace?

Book Info: Peanut / Ayun Halliday, illustrated by Paul Hoppe. Schwartz & Wade Books (Random House Children’s Books), 2012. [author’s website]  [illustrator’s website]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: 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. (One of 6,000 books recommended on

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