It’s been almost 2 years since ALLERGIC hit shelves, and so when my hold of SQUISHED became available at the Arlington Public Library, I rushed right over to pick it up and dive in. I loved ALLERGIC, but I also just love this style of graphic novels—if you’re a fan of the BSC, or Raina, or Kayla Miller you know exactly what I mean.

In Squished, Avery Lee is the oldest girl of seven siblings, including older brother Theo and several younger siblings, down to 9 month old Bea. Yes, Bea Lee. I digress. Avery’s in late elementary school, loves art, and craves her own space. When big brother Theo gets his own room, little Max moves in with Avery and Pearl, and all of a sudden Avery is even more determined than ever to get her own room. She decides to raise money to have an in-law style suite built in the basement, but thousands of dollars is a lot to raise if you’re just a kid, and her dog walking business and lemonade stand quickly go awry. Frustrated by being squished together, and by her friends seemingly changing when they go away for the summer, Avery’s situation really bubbles over when the family decides to move for her mom’s new job all the way across the country, and some members of the family take drastic measures.

Full of heart, great illustrations, and a fun, chaotic family dynamic–I really appreciated this book. It’s a quick read, engaging, and low-stakes. It reminds me of BSC meets Terri Libenson–a clear problem to solve, but the solution isn’t as important as the journey. Avery’s a great main character–she’s flawed but relatable. She gets angry but she’s not irrational. Her siblings are adorable and childlike and none of them are painted as “bad” kids or anything, which I like. The problem with many siblings isn’t who the kids are, it’s that they are KIDS, and kids are inherently kids.

My one qualm with this book would be the pacing, which feels a bit unevenly distributed. It’s not that the plot speeds by at some and slows at others, but that things develop unevenly. The moving element comes in really late, and is resolved quickly, and only two “attempts” to make money are explored, and both get tabled after one incident. It definitely could have been longer to be more encompassing of the situation, but the shorter book was not bad! I just wanted a bit more in the middle.

Overall, this was a 4 star read for me, and I’m excited to see what this team does next!







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