Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Heartbreakingly honest and quietly funny, this graphic novel from a debut creator is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school.
Livy is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school—and then there’s Viola. Viola is Livy’s anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that only Livy can see or hear. Livy tries to push back against Viola’s relentless judgment, but nothing seems to work until she strikes up new friendships at school. Livy hopes that Viola’s days are numbered. But when tensions arise both at home and at school, Viola rears her head stronger than ever. Only when Livy learns how to ask for help and face her anxiety does she finally figure out living with Viola.
Rosena Fung draws on her own early experiences with anxiety and the pressures of growing up as the child of Chinese immigrant parents to craft a charming, deeply personal story that combines the poignancy of Raina Telgemeier’s Guts with the wacky humor of Lumberjanes. Exuberant, colorful art brings Livy’s rich imaginative world—filled with everything from sentient dumplings to flying unicorns—to life on the page.
About the author
ROSENA FUNG is an illustrator and comic artist from Toronto, Ontario. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, giant murals, and on TV. Her favorite things are reading, cats, and eating snacks.
- Nominated, Texas Library Association’s Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List
“A charming, deeply personal story that combines the poignancy of Raina Telgemeier’s GUTS with the wacky humor of LUMBERJANES. Exuberant, colorful art brings Livy’s rich imaginative world–filled with everything from sentient dumplings to flying unicorns–to life on the page.”
MI Book Reviews, 08/09/21
“This is a rich, moving, multimodal reading experience . . . LIVING WITH VIOLA is a major middle-grade graphic novel debut that explores Fung’s weighty themes deftly and with nuance. This is a wonderful book that young readers and grown-up graphic novel aficionados will both appreciate and love.”
Quill & Quire, *starred review, 09/21
“Elevates the graphic novel genre with its heartfelt focus on mental health and immigrant experiences.”
Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 07/27/21