Monday, January 7, 2013


Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe is definitely different than anything I’ve reviewed before. It’s about a girl named Sadie who fakes having a peanut allergy when she moves to a new high school. The reason for this, I do not know. She starts her year in homeroom with a horrible, insensitive, algebra teacher named Mr. Larch. He makes it clear that he cares nothing for his students. After school Sadie calls her old friend, Cheryl. After camp, Cheryl had become mean and sassy. A few days later, Sadie meets a boy named Zoo. Anything else I could say would be a spoiler.

Paul Hoppe’s artwork in Peanut is very simple. It seems like its drawn with a pencil. I don’t really like or dislike the style. It’s really normal.
I would say buy it. The story is really deep. Once you start reading, you can’t stop. It just came out the day after X-mas so it’s probably in your local bookstore.

Do you want to know a fun fact? The writer of this book is my MOTHER. :D

Now I have an exclusive interview with the author

Milo: Why does Sadie fake a peanut allergy?

Ayun: I think it’s pretty human to dream up a scenario in which you have a condition or circumstance that causes people to treat you differently, maybe think of you as brave, or glamorous, or incredibly interesting. If she was being really melodramatic, she could have told people she had cancer, something that has a history of being portrayed unrealistically in tragic lovestories meant to appeal to audiences her age. But that wouldn’t have been too fun to write. I think readers would have really disliked her for telling such a whopper, as would I. So I had her choose something kind of ridiculous, on impulse, after a chance encounter with a girl who actually does have a peanut allergy. The stress of having to keep up appearances has its funny side,  and I think if readers are being honest about human behavior, they will have a little sympathy for her.

Ayun: Now I have a question for the Graphic Novelolgist, stemming from the fact that I have a different take on Mr. Larch than you do.  I see him as someone who cares about his students, even though his fussy formality keeps them at arm’s length.
In my mind, Sadie is one of his favorites. What do you think would have happened if she had confessed her secret to him? What about Nurse Andy, whose character is perhaps more to your liking, as, it was inspired by someone from your elementary school.

Milo: I have no idea what would have happened if she told Mr. Larch, but maybe if she had told Nurse Andy, Nurse Andy could have convinced her to tell her friends. They most likely would have been a bit sympathetic. (SPOILER ALERT) They probably would have been glad that Sadie told them instead of her lie getting out in some big public incident. 


  1. This was a very good interview, and I really liked how fair you were to both the author and the illustrator. Nice work!

  2. Hi Milo -- I am so excited to read your mom's book and your review makes me even more interested. I am trying to hold out until the big event on January 23rd to get my copy, but I might have to buy it sooner!

    Keep up the great work as the novelologist, it's really fun to read. xo Chris

  3. Nice review! It definitely makes me want to read the book. I know kids with real peanut allergies, and I wonder what they'd think of it. Maybe I'll pass it along after I finish it! I love that you are reading real books, too. Keep at it!

  4. Thank you Graphic Novelologist for this straightforward review. I do believe I'll purchase this book now.

  5. Thanks for the great review - I've been curious about this book and I think you did well in presenting it in an unbiased way and not in a "this is my mom's book" way!

  6. Excellent interview. I like the confidence the reviewer has to say "I don't know." I wonder how he'll feel about Mr. Larch in 20 years. Phil

  7. Excellent review! And well done handling the brilliant but famously difficult author/artist Ayun Halliday so deftly. She has been known to do terrible things to careless critics.

    I am excited to read Peanut AGAIN!

  8. Great review, I was going to buy the book anyway, because I buy everything she writes, but the review and interview made it more fun!! Keep up the good work! A fan in Alabama

  9. Well, I'm sold, both on the book and this blog, which offers excellent, honest perspective on comics that interest me.

    How would an artist go about sending you a review copy of his own book?

  10. Cool review, somehow reading it from a 12 year old you know they're not faking interest. Ill be sure to check out the book, since formative years and the social plights of girlhood are sure to be an interesting topic under the pen of longtime favorite Ms. Halliday.

  11. I've read PEANUT three times now and loved it each time, so it was with great pleasure that I read your long-awaited review of this seminal text. Great job! Although I confess I'm in agreement with your mama on the character of Mr. Larch. He strikes me as a curmudgeon with a heart of gold.

  12. That looks like a pretty cool book, Milo! :D

    ~Milo L-C