This week sees the release of Just Roll With It, the latest young reader graphic novel offering from Penguin Random House’s Graphic imprint. From cartoonist Veronica Agarwal and co-writer Lee Durfey-Lavoie, the graphic novel follows a middle school-aged girl with social anxiety who uses a twenty-sided die to navigate her way through a new school and new experiences. Today The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive excerpt of the book.
Here’s how Random House Graphic describes Just Roll With It:
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 time…so 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.
Just Roll With It is the second full-length graphic novel from Veronica Agarwal. Her first middle-grade book, Alexis vs. Summer Vacation, was written by Sarah Jamila Stevenson and published by the Center for Responsive Schools in 2019. She is also the creator of the webcomic Magical Girl Problems, Magical Girl Solutions, which ran until 2017.
In a statement back when the book was first announced, Agarwal described what she hopes readers get out of Just Roll With It, and named work that inspired her as she worked on the book:
“JUST ROLL WITH IT aims to open a dialogue about mental health for young readers and give them some terminology to help navigate talking about it,” said Veronica Agarwal. “I was inspired by Svetlana Chmakova’s ‘Berry Brook Middle School’ series (Awkward / Brave / Crush) that highlights issues kids deal with but doesn’t belittle them. I wanted this story to be something that shows how a lot of us live alongside our anxiety, and that the end goal of one’s mental health journey doesn’t have to be ‘fixing’ yourself, but rather becoming the best version of you, anxiety and all.”
Check out the exclusive five-page excerpt from Just Roll With It below. The 336-page graphic novel is available in hardcover and softcover editions, as well as in audio book form, now.