Penguin. Mar. 2020. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781984815149.
Gr 3-6–Ross Maloy is a middle schooler with bigger problems than most. Diagnosed with a rare eye tumor, he is challenged to maintain normalcy despite taxing cancer treatments. Afraid of pity, Ross also fears losing his close friends Abby and Isaac. Ross’s alter ego is Batpig, a character in his comic where he takes refuge from health challenges, relationship problems, anonymous trolls, and hurtful internet memes. He befriends a medical technician who is also a musician, and soon is motivated to learn guitar and perform in a band. The story’s beauty lies in how Ross’s life unfolds and opens. He forms a ragtag group of friends while undergoing monumental challenges. In response to Ross’s cry for normalcy, one close friend, Jerry, says normal shouldn’t be the goal: “Different moves the needle. Different is where the good stuff happens. There’s strength in different.”
VERDICT This title is delightfully good and different. Readers will be interested to know that Harrell draws from his personal experience. There are witty comic panels and other art interspersed throughout the text. Highly recommended.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing