Thursday 20 April 2023


Squished by Megan Wagner Lloyd & Michelle Mee Nutter (Graphix: an imprint of Scholastic.) PB RRP $18.99 ISBN 9781338568936

Reviewed by Kerry Gittins

From the creators of Allergic comes a new graphic novel centered around Avery Lee, an eleven-year-old from Hickory Valley, Maryland. Avery loves living there with her mum, dad and six siblings, but the thing she would love even more is to have a room of her own. She shares a room with her younger sister Pearl, and is not happy when her older brother, Theo, gets to have his own room, because that means she'll have to share with her baby brother Max too!

After visiting one of her best friends, Cameron, Avery learns that they are turning his basement into a room for his grandma who is coming to stay. Avery thinks that would be a great idea for the basement at their house, too. Avery's mum and dad don't have enough to renovate, so she comes up with the perfect way for an eleven-year-old to make money - dog walking! But that doesn't work out too well when the first dog she walks runs away.

She then decides on a lemonade stand and, with a little help from Pearl, they make some money, but definitely not enough for a room in the basement. Then she discovers that her other best friend Dani, has become close friends with another girl, her brother is being bullied by Dani's older brother and her mum has got a new job - in Oregon! Worst summer ever! Until two of her younger siblings run away. The whole family searches for them and, when Avery eventually finds them at a neighbour’s house, she realises that whatever the problem might be, it will be okay, as long as they are all together.

Changing friendship dynamics, moving house, feeling overwhelmed, bullying and sibling rivalry are all touched on in a way that will resonate with young people in all kinds of family situations, big or small. Finding your own way of dealing with, and learning from what can seem like insurmountable problems, is at the heart of this warm and uplifting story about family, friendship, change and resilience.

The language and design of the text is engaging and straightforward, making the story easily accessible for the reader. The detail and differences of the family characters in the illustrations really brings out their individual personalities, and the background colours help focus the reader on the situations unfolding in each panel. Another brilliant graphic novel for tweens from this talented duo. 

Teaching themes could include moving house, families, siblings, friendship, bullying, feeling overwhelmed, sharing, graphic novels, cartoons. 

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