Author Wendy Mass has written many middle grade and young adult novels (11 BIRTHDAYS and BOB are my past favorites). With LO & BEHOLD she enters new writing territory with a graphic novel.

Here’s what to expect in this engaging story:

When you’re named after a 250-year-old tortoise, you grow up believing life is full of possibilities and wonder. But ever since Addie’s family got turned upside down, those things have been harder for her to see.

The last thing Addie wants to do is make a new friend, but when her dad’s summer job takes them across the country, she meets Mateo and finds herself caught up in an exciting project. With the help of a virtual reality headset, she’s suddenly scaling castle walls, dodging angry kittens, and seeing the world in whole new ways. Plus, she has an idea that could be bigger than anything she’s imagined before, but can she right some wrongs first . . . or is it too late?


Dad has a summer job at a University and Addie has no choice but to join him. The story leaves you guessing as to what happened with the mom. Eventually we find out there was an accident followed by an addiction to pain killers. The plot keeps that in the background while Addie is introduced to the world of virtual reality. The university students are creating worthwhile explorations for the headsets that will help cancer patients and others in need.

The friendship between Addie and Mateo takes time to develop. They each have family secrets but soon their own virtual reality project brings them closer to being real friends. The ending will leave you smiling.

The style of artwork is both colorful and bold. Seeing what Addie saw while she had on the virtual headset made it evident why a graphic novel approach was chosen.

The heavy topics of parental separation and opioid addiction were realistic and handled well for a middle grade audience. LO & BEHOLD is full of compassion and heartwarming moments. Even if you don’t usually read graphic novels, this one is worthy of your time.


  1. The dad is a nerdy and lovable guy. His character is always doing something to help his daughter like introducing her to his students and at one point taking her to a pet shelter. Every kid deserves a father like Addie’s dad.
  2. Virtual Reality takes a positive spin on how it can be used help people cope with a crisis or find empathy rather than just for gaming purposes.
  3. Addie and Mateo are memorable characters whose way of facing life when there are bumps in the road will help others.
  4. Geocaching is not an activity seen very often in middle grade books. Finding out how much fun it is for Addie and Mateo will encourage young readers to give it a go in their own neighborhood.
  5. The author’s website has additional augmented reality activities you can use with the book. There’s one on moon seeds and more will be coming.


WENDY MASS is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels for young people (which have been translated into fourteen languages and nominated for sixty-eight state book awards), including A Mango-Shaped Space (which was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award by the American Library Association), the Twice Upon a Time fairy-tale series, 11 Birthdays, The Candymakers, and 13 Gifts. Her latest books are Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight and Pi in the Sky. Wendy tells people her hobbies are hiking and photography, but really they’re collecting candy bar wrappers and searching for buried treasure with her metal detector. She lives with her family in New Jersey. Visit her at wendymass.com.



About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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8 Responses to LO & BEHOLD

  1. I don’t usually read graphic novels, but this one sounds like one I’d enjoy. And it’s cool that Addie and Mateo get into geocaching.

  2. schmelzb says:

    I’m with Natalie about GN reading, but I’ll take your advice Greg, because I love Wendy’s books, esp. Mango-Shaped Space.

  3. I have to confess I never heard of geocaching before, but it sounds fun, and the book sounds really good (like Natalie and Beth, I don’t usually read graphic novels but I might make an exception here!). Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    I almost screamed when I saw this book was coming out, because “Wendy Mass” and “graphic novel” are some of the best words in the English language! But when I started my copy, I think some of the themes hit me a little harder than I expected, so I actually had to pause about 45 pages in—I hope to get back to it soon, especially after seeing your praise and some hints at what I can expect next! Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Greg!

  5. Oh cool! I read a YA that had geocaching in it a while back, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in MG before. I love the virtual reality component, too, and the way you describe it being used. This sounds like a really layered, sweet story. And a graphic novel! I’m definitely checking this one out. Thanks for your review.

  6. Hmmm. A lot of interesting threads in this one. I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but I’ll put this one on my list. Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. Andrea Mack says:

    I haven’t read any books by Wendy Mass in ages! It’s interesting when graphic novels ackles more complicated topics. I’ll add it to my reading list.

  8. Susan Uhlig Ford says:

    My library didn’t have it, but it did have Bob which I haven’t read yet, so thanks.

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