Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe
Schwartz & Wade, 2012
Before you write me off as a delusional psycho, think about what it's like to be thrown into a situation where everyone knows everyone... and no one knows you. Sadie has the perfect plan to snag some friends when she transfers to Plainfield High—pretend to have a peanut allergy. But what happens when you have to hand in that student health form your unsuspecting mom was supposed to fill out? And what if your new friends want to come over and your mom serves them snacks? (Peanut butter sandwich, anyone?) And then there's the bake sale, when your teacher thinks you ate a brownie with peanuts. Graphic coming-of-age novels have huge cross-over potential, and Peanut is sure to appeal to adults and teens alike.
This book surprised me right away - all I knew was that it was about a girl with a peanut allergy. I had heard good things about it, so I asked our library to get it, which they did! Hooray! After I started reading, I found out she LIED about having a peanut allergy. Basically, she did it for attention - she kind of used it as an icebreaker to meet people and make new friends. She talked to someone else with a peanut allergy and used that idea when she went to a new school.
In real life, you ask yourself "What was this person THINKING" when something like this happens. This story did a good job of explaining exactly that. (I remember reading an article about someone pretending to have cancer. It was horrifying and a way more serious case because I think she even took money from people. Peanut made me think of that - but at least she was young in the book.)
The rest of the book is about how she had to deal with that lie. It was crazy how it snowballed, and of course the truth eventually came out. It showed how dangerous allergies can be and how lying never works. I thought it was a fantastic read with excellent lessons.