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Just roll with it
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Publishers Weekly Review
Despite her initial concerns, sixth grade starts strong for Maggie Sankhar: she makes a new friend who shares a love of her favorite book series, joins a school RPG club that plays her favorite game, and discovers a newfound passion for science. But the transition also brings new worries, including bullies in the halls and a mysterious monster lurking on school grounds. Maggie is already overwhelmed by her older sisters' academic prowess, and she develops a constant fear of making mistakes, assuaged only by rituals such as toggling light switches and rolling a 20-sided die for direction. When her sister puts a name--obsessive compulsive disorder--to Maggie's behaviors, the suggestion further ups her anxiety. Offering messages of self-acceptance and tackling one task at a time, Durfey-Lavoie thoughtfully weaves the way Maggie's OCD presents into this solid middle grade story with a sympathetically earnest protagonist. In familiar, accessible art that highlights an array of skin tones, Agar- wal conjures Maggie's warm, supportive growing friendship as well as her loving family, which reads as South Asian. A comforting read that fits right into the contemporary middle grade graphic novel tradition. Ages 8--12. Agent (for Durfey-Lavoie and Agarwal): Susan Graham, Einstein Literary. (Dec.)
Booklist Review
Maggie is struggling with a lot as she begins sixth grade: making a friend, finding the right after-school club, worrying over the signs of a mysterious creature that appear all over campus. A diehard fan of tabletop role-playing games, she's sure it's some kind of monster. Meanwhile, her dreams are haunted by a menacing dragon, the embodiment of her anxiety, and as Maggie's emerging OCD becomes more evident to those around her--she can't make simple choices without guidance from her 20-sided die--she must learn to accept help addressing her mental health. Drawing from their own experiences in their debut graphic novel, Agarwal and Durfey-Lavoie explore the heavy internal struggles of a middle-schooler navigating anxiety and OCD. The mood is lightened by overwhelming support from Maggie's large, inclusive family and her new classmate, Clara, whose warm friendship is a highlight. Minimalistic character design allows Maggie's ever-shifting expressions to clearly reflect her interiority as she learns to cope and finds her place--and her courage. A fun, comforting work that will resonate widely with early middle-graders.
Horn Book Review
In this graphic novel, sixth grader Maggie starts middle school with familiar worries: making friends, confronting bullies, navigating classes. She carries a many-sided die to roll whenever she's confused, worried, or otherwise at a crossroads, each number corresponding in her mind to an action she should or should not take. Maggie is a gamer and a sci-fi/fantasy and superhero fan, and she decides to join the school's RPG (that's role-playing game, for newbs) afterschool club. She grows comfortable with new like-minded friends -- but she's still reliant on her die. At home, surrounded by her loving, supportive South Asian family, she's compelled to flick the lights, color-code her books, etc. What's more, there's a fierce white dragon in her head that second-guesses her thoughts and psyches her out: "That was all your fault...You can't do anything right, can you?" Maggie's compulsions and anxieties are important to the story, but this isn't a book solely about them. Throughout the tale, illustrated in easy-to-read panel art with bubbly character shapes and subdued hues, we meet engaging secondary characters and even tag along as Maggie and friends help solve a (somewhat unlikely) wildlife mystery. An appended note touches on the book creators' own experiences with mental illness. Elissa Gershowitz September/October 2021 p.93(c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Review
Maggie enters middle school and soon realizes that the 20-sided die she rolls to make decisions doesn't always work. Maggie Sankhar is both excited and nervous to be starting sixth grade. On the one hand, she quickly makes a new friend, Clara, who encourages her to join the RPG club--but on the other hand, she encounters bullies, and mastering all the new routines can feel intimidating. Most of all, Maggie often holds herself back because she fears things will go awry if the number on the die isn't favorable. She also internalizes pressure to live up to her older sisters' seemingly unattainable achievements, even as her caring family recognizes that her struggles go beyond the ordinary and that she may benefit from therapy. Maggie is reluctant, but her therapist is reassuring and supportive. Maggie's character is well developed, and her arc shows what living with mental illness can look like day to day. The depiction of OCD is thoughtful, and the lively, expressive illustrations show Maggie's stress and worry--as well as many moments of fun with her new friends. This is a thoughtful and engaging account of a preteen navigating mental illness in a world that leaves her constantly doubting herself. Maggie and her family read as South Asian; brown-skinned Clara has two moms, one of Maggie's older sisters has a girlfriend, and the girls' school is multiethnic. An accessible, compassionate story of growth and learning. (design process, author's note) (Graphic fiction. 10-12) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Starting middle school is hard enough when you don't know anyone; it's even harder when you're shy. A contemporary middle-grade graphic novel for fans of Guts and Real Friends about how dealing with anxiety and OCD can affect everyday life.

As long as Maggie rolls the right number, nothing can go wrong...right?

Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school. But between finding the best after-school clubs, trying to make friends, and avoiding the rumored monster on school grounds, she's having a tough she might need a little help from her twenty-sided dice. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number?

A touching middle-grade graphic novel that explores the complexity of anxiety, OCD, and learning to trust yourself and the world around you.

"A charming, compassionate story that's sure to resonate with anyone who's ever stayed up worrying." -Gale Galligan, adaptor and illustrator of theBaby-Sitters Club graphic novel series
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