Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

fullsizeoutput_15ebGenre: Young Adult Poetry
Pages: Print 304
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I purchased on my own.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author. Please note I share a piece of my personal experience with sexual assault merely to emphasize how this book resonated with me and how I feel connected to the storyline. 


Goodreads Synopsis

Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.


Final Thoughts

I purchased a copy of this book because it is my most anticipated read of 2019. I connected with the main character in Speak and wanted to read her poetic memoir. I was expecting nothing less of raw emotions, honesty, and empowerment. It’s hard to review a memoir due to it merely being about the author’s life. You can only review the writing style and look at it from an editorial purpose only. I kept this in mind when reading this memoir.

Overall I thought this was a well written, compelling, poetic memoir that provided insight on the challenges faced by this author. After reading this, I understand what an emotional obstacle it is to write about something so real. I understand the true emotional turmoil of reliving the same day over and over again and trying to find ways to cope. The author takes a unique approach to tell the story of her life in three parts. The first part of the book talks about her mother, father, and sister — this where we learn of the rape that leads her to create the characters in Speak. We also learn how she coped with the struggles of her parent’s marriage, the ghosts of her fathers past, and the rape that shattered her from within. The author delves into the relationship between her parents, her schooling, and her ghosts. In part two, we take a journey on how she spoke about Speak in schools. We learn that some schools tried to censor her book, saying that a book about sexual assault did not belong in a school. Halse Anderson wanted to share this book with everyone, to promote the concept of consent, and to be a voice for those who were afraid. We learn about how she created the character names in the novel and the challenges she faced while writing it. In part three we learn the fate of her parents and the closing remarks.

This book focuses on the challenges of being a victim of sexual assault and how one story can touch many. Halse Anderson showcases that there are many people out there with a story to share afraid to speak up. She highlights the injustices associated with being a victim of rape. One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

Forgiveness

study that number,

and no matter what it is,

forgive yourself

because no, my friend.

you are not overreacting

not one bit.

It is hard to forgive yourself and try to move on because the ghost from your past still haunt you. I recommend this book for any teen but be mindful for any victim of sexual assault; this may contain some trigger words. I had to put the book down a few times to take a break before I could complete it. To anyone battling the demons of your past, it will get better, and it’s not your fault. Some moments I still feel like that six-year-old girl watching her favorite cartoon on the television. In the moments those memories resurface, I take a deep breath and try to come back to the present. To the author, you did a fantastic job with this book and your others, and I say #metoo Laurie Halse Anderson.


To purchase your copy of this novel you can visit this link to view purchasing links

http://madwomanintheforest.com


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story by Debbie Tung

X3XQ87PqTEGbmfu3Hx+DIAGenre: Graphic Novel (Autobiographical Memoir)
Pages: Print 177
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Author: Debbie Tung
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I checked out from my library.  This review does not reflect the views of the author, publisher, or library I checked it out from. 


Goodreads Synopsis 

Sweet, funny, and quietly poignant, Debbie Tung’s comics reveal the ups and downs of coming of age as an introvert.

This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung’s experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie’s life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.

The first half of the book traces Debbie’s final year in college: socializing with peers, dating, falling in love (with an extrovert!), moving in, getting married, meeting new people, and simply trying to fit in. The second half looks at her life after graduation: finding a job, learning to live with her new husband, trying to understand social obligations when it comes to the in-laws, and navigating office life. Ultimately, Quiet Girl sends a positive, pro-introvert message: our heroine learns to embrace her introversion and finds ways to thrive in the world while fulfilling her need for quiet


Final Thoughts 

I stumbled up this book while browsing through my social media feed. However, this wasn’t the first time I viewed comics by this author before. I noticed these comics in a few articles I read in the past year but did not know there was a book.

The graphic novel starts with Debbie in college during her last years trying to navigate life as an introvert and figure out how to become an adult. She struggles to grasp the concept of social gatherings and dating. In true introvert style, she prefers to spend her time at home alone reading or in a quiet space. The author provides humorous illustrations to describe the everyday challenges of introverts. Debbie struggles with meeting new people, understanding specific social cues, and interacting with people. Social interactions, to her, cause a physical and emotional strain causing her to have to recharge after an event. We watch Debbie navigate through dating, finding a potential suitor, and interacting with others. She even faces the dreaded post-graduate life where you have to find a job and be an “adult.” In the end, she figures out who she is and learns that she is okay. That there is nothing wrong with her. She decides to do her research, read a few books to understand her personality, and truly embraces who she is. She can finally understand why she is the way she is and fully accepts that it’s okay not to be “normal.”

This graphic takes a humorous approach to describe the challenges of being an introvert. Debbie Tung illustrates a time when she attends a social gathering and the aftermath of her needing to recharge after interacting with so many people. She will typically spend a day doing nothing and just enjoying the lack of social interaction to prepare for her next gathering. Introverts may appear to be happy at events, but you will notice when they become distant and wander into a corner. I try to stay away from large gatherings because I have two versions of myself: one that gets nervous and talks way too much, the other that sulks and hides in the corner limiting social interaction. I usually go home and prefer to hibernate for 8 hours to prepare. I hate talking on the phone for more than 30 minutes after a day of work because I’ve been talking to people all day and wanted a break. If you are an introvert, then I highly recommend you picking up this graphic novel. You will soon see your everyday interactions come to life on a page.


To purchase your copy of this book, visit the website at http://wheresmybubble.tumblr.com/books for access to purchasing links


Comment below your introvert stories and how you handle it! 

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

img_0353Genre: Young Adult Autobiographical Graphic Novel
Pages: Print 320
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy borrowed from a library I work at. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis 

Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. Click here for this synopsis on Goodreads.


Favorite Quotes

“Stories keep memories alive and people real to us.”


Final Thoughts

I heard about this book while watching a booktuber discuss books that you must read. I also heard about this book on Instagram and felt like I had to pick it up. I was a bit nervous to actually read this graphic novel memoir after reading the description. I haven’t read many books that discuss the challenges faced by children who have parents who are drug addicts. I personally picked up this book because I felt it was important to see how someone else dealt with an issue I dealt with my entire life.

Jarrett Krosoczka uses humor, emotions, and graphics to describe his childhood in this gut-wrenching graphic novel memoir. The author used his love for art as a medium of escape from the harshness of his reality. He discusses the real challenges faced by someone with a parent that is faced with a debilitating addition. In the face of the biggest challenge of his life, Jarrett has an amazing support system to fall back on. In this novel you watch him grow up, be a normal young man, and face the ghosts from his past in order to truly move forward in his life. I cried while reading about his relationship with his mom and the wonderful companionship he received from his grandfather. The pure innocence of a child is displayed exceptionally in this graphic novel through Jarrett’s hope of his mom overcoming her addiction.  It is hard to rate someones personal story which is why I gave it five stars. It takes a lot of courage to tell the entire world your story and the things you overcame as a child. This graphic novel memoir aims to shed light on the what it is like to live with two absent parents. Jarrett overcame a lot as a child to become what he wanted today and I definitely think that would not be possible without his grandparents. Out of the entire graphic novel, I enjoyed the acknowledgements at the end. I enjoyed reading about his life after he graduated high school, learning about what happened to his grandparents, learning about his parental relationships and how they developed and reading his appreciation of his family. I recommend this book to any guardian or parent who has a child that has a parent with an addiction.


How this story relates to me

This graphic novel touches on some of the challenges of having a parent that is an addict but not all. All situations are unique.  My dad was a drug addict and later died from the effects in 2007. I watched my dad live a life that we all knew would lead to his death. As a child , you hope that your parents will overcome their addiction, you hope they will choose you over an addiction, and you hope for normalcy. However, that isn’t the case in most situations. I had to face my own demons and overcome my own nightmares in order for me to move forward. It is okay to hope for your parents to get better but at the end of the day their choices are their choices alone. I had to understand that addiction is like a disease and my dad could not and was not ready to receive the right treatment. I completely understand as an adult that I did all that I could as a child and his addiction had nothing to do with me. If it weren’t for my maternal grandmother, I would not be here today. The past events shape who you are today but they do not define you. I definitely think I used books as a way to escape the harshness of the reality I lived in and that’s okay.


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the Scholastic website at https://www.scholastic.com/kids/book/hey-kiddo-by-jarrett-j-krosoczka/ for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.