SQUISHED: A GRAPHIC NOVEL, by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, Graphix, March 7, 2023, Paperback, $12.99 (ages 8-12)
Squished, a graphic novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, explores the highs and lows of growing up in a large family.
Eleven-year-old Avery Lee loves living in Hickory Valley, Maryland. She loves her neighborhood, school, and the end-of-summer fair she always goes to with her two best friends. But she’s tired of feeling squished by her six siblings! They’re noisy and chaotic and the younger kids love her a little too much.
All Avery wants is her own room — her own space to be alone and make art. So, she’s furious when Theo, her grumpy older brother, gets his own room instead, and her wild baby brother, Max, moves into the room she already shares with her clinging sister Pearl!
Avery hatches a plan to finally get her own room, all while trying to get Max to sleep at night, navigating changes in her friendships, and working on an art entry for the fair. And when Avery finds out that her family might move across the country, things get even more complicated. —Synopsis provided by Graphix
The definition of what constitutes a “large” family varies depending on your community. Where I live, having six or seven siblings isn’t unheard of. There are five kids in my own family. And if you’ve ever lived in such a family, Squished will definitely resonate.
Avery is the second child and the oldest of the girls. As one of the older kids, she’s expected to take on some of the responsibility and make room for the little ones. She loves her family, but just wants some space to explore her own interests and dreams in relative quiet.
In Squished, Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter have created a charming story of a family facing change. It’s lovely to see the disfunction that happens in even the most loving families play across the pages. The dynamics between siblings — and how they play out depending on age — are spot on. And the expectations and judgements from a social perspective ring true.
Inviting artwork and well-thought-out text really bring this story to life. Squished is a heartfelt story that finds humor in the everyday. It’s fast paced and a good choice for graphic novel readers who are drawn to contemporary fiction.
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