Lee Durfey-Lavoie and Veronica Agarwal’s JUST ROLL WITH IT Is a Powerful and Playful Graphic Novel about Anxiety, OCD, RPGs, and Surviving School

Random House Graphic to Publish A Charming Graphic Novel For Everyone Who’s Ever Had A Complicated Relationship With Their Twenty-Sided Die

 

(December 9, 2021) Starting middle school is hard enough when you don’t know anyone; it’s even harder when you’re shy and anxious. Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school unscathed, 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… And when she gets nervous, Maggie turns to her twenty-sided die. As long as Maggie rolls the right number, nothing can go wrong… or so she thinks. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number?

 

JUST ROLL WITH IT is the debut graphic novel from writer Lee Durfey-Lavoie and the second graphic novel from artist Veronica Agarwal. Perfect for fans of Guts and Real Friends, JUST ROLL WITH IT is a touching story that explores the complexity of anxiety, OCD, and learning to trust yourself and the world around you.

 

“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.”

 

“It was important for us to reflect the world we live in—from diversity of body size, race, sexuality, etc, to diversity of how we take in the world around us,” said Lee Durfey-Lavoie. “We wanted to make characters that were serious, goofy, afraid, silly, and who reflected all the wacky and wonderful aspects of being in middle school. We wanted the book to reflect our own experience: that mental illness can be scary and difficult, but it isn’t insurmountable, and the ones you love can help you through it.”

 

Here’s what people are saying about JUST ROLL WITH IT:

 

“A charming, compassionate story that’s sure to resonate with anyone who’s ever stayed up worrying.” — Gale Galligan, the adaptor and illustrator of the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel series

 

“Gorgeous… [and] powerful.”—Nerdist

 

“An accessible, compassionate story of growth and learning… This is a thoughtful and engaging account of a preteen navigating mental illness in a world that leaves her constantly doubting herself.”

— Kirkus Reviews

 

“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.”—Publishers Weekly

 

On December 14, 2021, Random House Graphic will publish this charming, middle-grade graphic novel about how RPGs can help overcome anxiety and OCD.

 

Veronica Agarwal is a cartoonist and an illustrator from New York City. She graduated from School of Visual Arts with a BFA in cartooning. She loves plants, summertime, dogs, and her three cats. Her work focuses on mental health, coming-of-age stories, and friendship. Previously, she illustrated Alexis Vs. Summer Vacation – written by Sarah Jamila Stevenson, and has been featured in various anthologies about magic, queerness, and being mixed race.

Lee Durfey-Lavoie loves role-playing games and spending time with his cat. A college dropout who found a career in writing, he resides in Long Island. Just Roll with It is his debut graphic novel.