The start of seventh grade is supposed to be filled with excitement for Nina and her best friend, Brianna, but Nina suddenly finds herself adrift when Brianna ditches her for a new, more sophisticated and ultracool best friend.
Feeling abandoned isn’t the only challenge that Nina faces. She also has several dangerous food allergies and must be extremely careful about what she eats. Now that Brianna has moved on, Nina begins eating lunch at the “peanut-free table” with the other kids who have food allergies. As she forms new friendships, Nina is able to recognize some of Brianna’s crueler traits. She comes to realize that she was living in the shadow of her former friend and begins to feel more comfortable being herself. Her new group decides to form a band, the EpiPens, to perform at the upcoming school talent show. However, music plays a very minor role in the plot, which is mostly driven by Nina’s struggles with food and friendship. The narrative is quite tame in its language, humor and romance (particularly given the ages represented), making it a good choice for younger readers.
Slightly bland, though valuable for its portrayal of a young person living with serious food allergies. (Fiction. 9-12)