Little, Brown Ink. Jul. 2023. 224p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780316628433. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780316628419.
Gr 6 Up–Isaac was recently diagnosed with OCD. At school, he has trouble focusing because of his intrusive thoughts. At home, Isaac’s mom wants the best for him but is overprotective to the point where his sister, Miriam, is ignored. Miriam is jealous of the attention Isaac gets and is mean to him at home and in school. When a classmate, Micah, sees Isaac’s drawing, they introduce him to their group of friends and invite him to play Swamps & Sorcery, a fantasy role-playing game. Isaac’s mom worries this could make his OCD symptoms worse; throughout the story, Isaac struggles to show his mom that it is actually helpful for him. The art adeptly depicts how Isaac’s thoughts can be so harmful. At first, only shades of a blueish gray are used except for the bees, which are yellow and stand out. When Isaac hangs out with his new friend group for the first time, readers get full pages of color. From there, they'll bounce back and forth between these palettes, and it helps show where Isaac is comfortable and can be himself. The story handles different topics other than OCD. Isaac’s relationships with his mom and sister are both important, and both are tested. Isaac and Micah, who is nonbinary, like each other and get closer as the story progresses. The story falls a little flat toward the end, as conflicts quietly resolve on their own. Drawings from Swamps & Sorcery are included in the back matter.
VERDICT Overall, a sweet story that fans of Raina Telgemeier will enjoy.

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