cover image Squished


Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter. Graphix, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-338-56893-6

Lloyd and Nutter (Allergic) reteam in this energetic graphic novel, a meditation on adolescence and the strengths and challenges that large families can engender. Eleven-year-old artist Avery Lee is the second oldest child in a boisterous Korean American brood. Being constantly surrounded by mischievous younger siblings and sharing a room with her eight-year-old sister prompts Avery to covet the holy grail: her own room. But when her parents reveal that they’re giving her eldest brother, 13-year-old Theo, his own room instead, Avery decides to spend her summer vacation scheming up ways to make money to convert the family basement into her new abode. Dog-walking and lemonade-selling plans veer into chaos when Theo accidentally reveals that their parents are planning to move the family from Maryland to Oregon. Brightly colored landscapes and keen dialogue artfully depict common eldest daughter woes as Avery struggles with being the de facto caretaker of her siblings. The creators instill Avery with a strong sense of self that both buoys her mercurial familial relationships and imbues them with authentic, empathetic conflicts. It’s this verisimilitude—suffused with many tears, laughs, and sobering moments—that shapes the core of this heartwarming jaunt. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)