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Young Adult Nonfiction Biography

One in a Million

illustrated by Claire Lordon

Candlewick Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Biography, Drawing, Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries
Recommended Age
14 to 18
Recommended Grade
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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Debut graphic novelist Claire Lordon’s medical misfortunes may be one in a million in this relatable memoir, but so is her determination, grit, and passion to beat the odds and reclaim her life.

Something is wrong with Claire, but she doesn’t know what. Nobody does, not even her doctors. All she wants is to return to her happy and athletic teenage self. But her accumulating symptoms—chronic fatigue, pounding headaches, weight gain—hint that there’s something not right inside Claire’s body. Claire’s high school experience becomes filled with MRIs, visits to the Mayo Clinic, and multiple surgeries to remove a brain tumor. But even in her most difficult moments battling chronic illness, Claire manages to find solace in her family, her closest friends, and her art. A deeply personal and visually arresting memoir that draws on the author’s high school diaries and drawings, One in a Million is also a sophisticated portrayal of pain, depression, and fear that any teen or adult can relate to. With a sensitive preface and an author’s note connecting past to present, this true story of resilience strikes a moving balance between raw honesty in the face of medical and mental trauma and the everyday musings of a teenager.

About the author

Claire Lordon is an illustrator and designer of children's books, surface designs, maps, and murals. She earned her BFA in illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is inspired by her spirit of adventure, love of the outdoors, and an enthusiasm for travel.

Claire Lordon's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Refreshingly pushing back against tropes that often appear in these types of stories, Claire is not required to be heroic in the face of her declining health or to find meaning in it; she expresses all the frustration of a typical high school student. . . . The visual format is the ideal medium for depicting her emotional state: Simple, expressive character designs and backgrounds in white and shades of purple help soften even intense situations. . . . Informative and full of relatable honesty.
—Kirkus Reviews

This affecting graphic memoir by Lordon (Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster), pulled from her adolescent diary entries, organically conveys the impact of a mysterious chronic illness on her life. . . Though Lordon’s health concerns aren’t resolved as easily as she initially hoped, depictions of her experience managing her illness are filled with mirth and positivity as she finds solace in her art and friendships, making this a resonant story of resilience.
—Publishers Weekly

In this graphic novel memoir, author Claire Lordon shares the story of her health battle during her junior and senior years of high school. . . . serves to connect readers to the despair and sadness that Lordon felt while going through her medical journey.
—School Library Connection

A vulnerable preface and author’s note contextualize the story, offering details about how Lordon is faring fourteen years out from the worst of it all and reassuring the reader that, most of the time, there is light, joy, potential, and hope on the other side of one’s darkest moments. Art was one of few things Lordon could do even when she was ill, so the graphic novel format is particularly meaningful.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Other titles by Claire Lordon