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Review: Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation written by Anne Frank, adapted by Ari Folman, and illustrations by David Polonsky

Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Novel Adaptation

Anne Frank’s Diary
Anne Frank
Adapted by Ari Folman
Illustrations by David Polonsky
Pantheon Books
Published October 2, 2018

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About Anne Frank’s Diary

A timeless story rediscovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For both young readers and adults it continues to capture the remarkable spirit of Anne Frank, who for a time survived the worst horror the modern world has seen—and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.

Adapted by Ari Folman, illustrated by David Polonsky, and authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel, this is the first graphic edition of The Diary and includes extensive quotation directly from the definitive edition. It remains faithful to the original, while the stunning illustrations interpret and add layers of visual meaning and immediacy to this classic work of Holocaust literature.

My Review

I read THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL for the first time this year. I’d read a play based on the diary and seen it performed while I was in school, but I hadn’t read the original text for myself until now.

One of the reasons I did is because of this graphic adaptation. (Note: the term graphic adaptation simply means it’s told in a series of images in panels, much like a comic strip, but the content is nonfiction, so it’s not a graphic novel.)

Anne Frank’s Diary Banned

ANNE FRANK’S DIARY was banned in at least one high school library in a county near me early in 2023. I read about the content that a parent objected to, but didn’t really have a grid for it since I’d never read the graphic adaptation being pulled or the original diary.

The content the parent objected to is on a two-page spread. There are three images showing Anne and her friend Jacque having a sleepover. Anne asks Jacque if they can show one another their breasts, and Jacque says no. Ann laments that she wanted very much to kiss her friend. The next page shows Anne walking through a garden of vaguely sketched nude statues with a caption that she feels ecstasy at the sight of a female body.

The content is brief and pretty vague, and Jacque even rebuffs Anne. These scenes come directly from Frank’s diary entries.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Only Graphic Adaptation Authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation

Having read both these books so closely together, I think the graphic adaptation is faithful to the original text and the spirit of it. There were diary entries that I recognized in the graphic adaptation. Sometimes multiple scenes were combined to show one scene. Some of the illustrations show a scene at a dinner Anne describes. At other times, they present a more metaphorical interpretation of what happened. I found that I really enjoyed that combination and the way it illuminated some of the things Anne describes.

Still the Same Sparky, Brilliant Young Girl

The things that stood out to me so much in this book as with the diary itself were how young Anne is. At times, her temper and her emotions get the better of her, as they do with any of us. At other times, she writes with so much humor and depth that it’s hard to remember she was barely a teenager herself.

The man who adapted the book points out in a note at the back of the book that a famous historian once said, “more people are probably familiar with the Nazi era through the figure of Anne Frank than through any other figure of that period, except perhaps of Adolf Hitler himself.”

I had to let that sink in. And I had to think about the fact that we are now telling some high school students they can’t read this book. Or MAUS, the duology written by Art Spiegelman about his father’s life as a survivor of the Holocaust.

It’s very weird to me that there are places in which you can legally drive a car and get a job but not have access to these books at your school.

Conclusion

I’m so glad I read ANNE FRANK’S DIARY: THE GRAPHIC ADAPTATION and the original, DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank. The story they tell is a pretty simple one. It’s about a girl who keeps a diary, pretending to write letters to a friend as her family faces prejudice, adversity, and ultimately, their own murders.

I really enjoyed the way the illustrations celebrated Anne’s humor and her wit. And I deeply appreciate that they show the vast range of feelings she describes in her diary. I loved the book, and I would like to check out the movie directed by the adapter of the book.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 10 up.

Representation
Anne, her family, and the others hiding in the Secret Annex are Jewish.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
None.

Romance/Sexual Content
Anne reports she once asked a female friend if she could see her breasts and wanted to kiss her. She says she feels “ecstasy” when seeing female bodies. She mentions speaking openly with Peter about the bodies of men and women. Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Anne’s family celebrates Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day together.

Violent Content
Anne hears rumors of citizens being executed. She hears rumors about people taken to concentration camps and killed there. Anne worries about friends from school and others her family knew. She sometimes has a dream of them asking her for help.

Drug Content
Anne takes Valerian drops to combat feelings of anxiety and panic during her time in hiding.

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Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation is a beautifully illustrated adaptation of the original diary telling about Anne’s years in hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland.

Review: Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting or Self-Involved Parents
Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD
New Harbinger Publications
Published June 1, 2015

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About Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavior. These wounds can be healed, and you can move forward in your life.

In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay Gibson exposes the destructive nature of parents who are emotionally immature or unavailable. You will see how these parents create a sense of neglect, and discover ways to heal from the pain and confusion caused by your childhoodBy freeing yourself from your parents’ emotional immaturity, you can recover your true nature, control how you react to them, and avoid disappointment. Finally, you’ll learn how to create positive, new relationships so you can build a better life.

Discover the four types of difficult parents:

  • The emotional parent instills feelings of instability and anxiety.
  • The driven parent stays busy trying to perfect everything and everyone.
  • The passive parent avoids dealing with anything upsetting. 
  • The rejecting parent is withdrawn, dismissive, and derogatory.

My Review

I came across this book while I was browsing on Twitter. Someone I’m close to was going through a challenging conflict with a parent, and when I saw this book, I thought, hey, maybe this could be a good resource.

I started reading the opening pages, and it was like… all of a sudden, some of the relationships I’ve had deep struggles with in my life started to make sense. Things clicked. Some of the descriptions of emotionally immature behavior were absolutely spot-on for some of the people in my life. So I bought the book, thinking maybe it would give me better insights on those relationships, too.

Easy to Read, Broken into Three Parts

Here’s my favorite thing about this book: it’s broken down into three parts. The first part pretty much breaks down common behaviors of emotionally immature people. The goal is learning to see the person from a more objective view and recognizing patterns, especially those that hurt.

The second part of the book turns the magnifying glass on the reader. How have we responded to the emotionally immature people in our lives? Basically, she breaks this into two big categories which she terms our healing fantasy (what we keep doing to try to “fix” the relationship) and our role-self (unnatural or unhealthy ways we’ve changed our behavior to try to make these relationships work).

Then, the last part of the book puts it all together. Now that we understand what’s happening in this other person and how we are responding, we look at dismantling the unhealthy responses. Changing our expectations. And setting up new ways to interact with this person that stop us from diving headfirst into the potholes we’ve been falling into.

There’s also a chapter that looks to future relationships and how to stop ourselves from pursuing the same harmful relationships over and over as well as how to look for signs of emotional immaturity, especially in a potential partner.

Best Relationship Book I’ve Ever Read

The writing is straightforward. Practical. Clear. I can’t think of another book on relationships that spelled things out as well as this book does. It pretty much blew my mind. I wanted to contact every person I know who has had challenging relationships with a parent and be like, “Stop what you are doing and READ THIS NOW!”

Normally I read nonfiction really slowly, but I couldn’t put this one down. Honestly, it felt so eye-opening, both in understanding behavior in others that was harmful and also in taking a hard look at myself and how my own behavior was harming me, too. Just, wow.

I liked that the book is really empowering and focuses on healing and healthy boundaries. Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough. If you find yourself having the same kinds of hurtful experiences over and over with people in your life, even if they’re not your parents, definitely check out this book.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

Representation
No race details given about the case examples.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
None.

Romance/Sexual Content
None.

Spiritual Content
None.

Violent Content
Some brief references to verbal, emotional, or physical abuse.

Drug Content
References to addiction.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog.

Review: She Deserves Better by Sheila Wray Gregoire, Rebecca Gregoire Lindenback, and Joanna Sawatsky

She Deserves Better: Raising Girls to Resist Toxic Teachings on Sex, Self, and Speaking Up
Sheila Wray Gregoire, Rebecca Gregoire Lindenback, and Joanna Sawatsky
Baker
Published April 18, 2023

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About She Deserves Better

You want your daughter to thrive–to be strong, confident, and equipped to step into the life God has for her.

But what if the church is setting your daughter up to be small?

Armed with data from an all-new survey of over 7,000 women, the authors of THE GREAT SEX RESCUE reveal how experiences in church as teens affect women’s self-esteem and relationships today. They expose common evangelical teachings that can backfire–the purity emphasis that can cause shame rather than good choices, the dating rules that can prime your daughter for abuse, and the one overarching belief that can keep her from setting healthy boundaries.

Instead, the authors advocate biblically grounded, freeing messages that are more about the dos and less about the don’ts. By reframing (and sometimes replacing) common evangelical messages to teen girls, this book will equip you to raise a daughter who can navigate the tumultuous teenage years while still clinging tightly to Jesus.

You can raise your daughter with the discernment to resist toxic teachings. Because she deserves better than a faith that keeps her small.

“Sheila, Rebecca, and Joanna are an all-star team, confronting the harm done to our daughters in both the church and the world. The title says it all. Full stop. Our daughters deserve better! This book is full of thorough research, refreshingly commonsense biblical wisdom, and practical help on how to talk with our daughters and prepare them for confidence and maturity.”–Aimee Byrd, author of The Sexual Reformation –This text refers to the paperback edition.

Why I’m Reviewing She Deserves Better

I’m finding writing up my review to be a bit overwhelming, so I’m going to break it down into sections to help me focus my thoughts. First, let’s talk about why I decided to review this book.

I was raised in what would now probably be identified as a fundamentalist/evangelical church. To be honest, I had some good and bad experiences there. That complexity sometimes makes it hard for me to sort out my feelings about certain faith-based things. Though I am still myself a Christian, I am not part of the evangelical community. I once heard someone describe her family as Liberal Christians, and I would say that’s a label that’s closer to accurate for me.

Periodically, I dip my toes into the Christian literary market to try to find books and resources that resonate with me and are things I can confidently promote. Sometimes I regret it. But other times I find books that deeply energize me and encourage me in my faith journey.

I first heard about SHE DESERVES BETTER on one of the authors’ Twitter pages during some discourse about church scandals and the treatment of women in the church. As I read more of the posts on the author’s page, I found I agreed with several of her statements. When I noticed she was part of a team of three women who had a book for moms and daughters coming out, I decided to try to get a copy for review.

Rejecting Purity Culture But Replacing It with… What?

My home growing up didn’t adhere to some fundamentalist ideas, (my mom has always been an assertive person who expresses her views, for example) but we were part of a church community that absolutely preached the values and ideas of purity culture.

While I’ve rejected… most? all? I’m not thoroughly sure here… of those ideas, I’ve struggled to find healthier/more reasonable ways to express what I do believe about some of these issues. For example, I recently had a conversation with a family member about the way my daughter dresses. I don’t have a problem with the way she dresses, but this family member had some concerns and related those concerns in the language of purity culture. “She needs to remember there are boys in the house while she’s wearing those things,” etc.

I defended my daughter (the problem seemed to be that she’s young and curvy) and pretty plainly said that I would not make the burden of someone else’s possible thoughts her responsibility. But I struggled to explain my parental boundaries for her clothing choices. I do have them. But they’re about how she feels about herself and what she thinks about her body, not what someone else thinks. Still, I found myself wishing for a resource to help me quantify this and help me reassure my daughter. I also handle wanted better tools to handle people coming at me with purity culture complaints so I can respond in a way I find satisfying.

My Review of She Deserves Better

Lemme give you the nutshell version first. While I didn’t agree 100% with everything the authors said and how they said it, I came pretty close. I loved the premise of the book. I loved the consistent calls to do what is healthy and loving. The authors also state multiple times the importance of being in a church community that is itself healthy and supportive of young women. They go so far as to counsel families to leave churches with toxic teaching because of the potential damage it can cause. I recommend this book to anyone raised in purity culture and/or anyone raising girls in the church today.

Essentially, they studied the effects of the purity culture movement and other teachings that young women in evangelical churches are often still being taught today. A bible verse warns us to look at the outcomes of behavior using the metaphor of trees producing fruit. If a tree produces bad fruit, the tree should be cut down and tossed in the fire. So the authors break down different teachings and looks at the outcomes. For example, they look at the effects of teaching a girl that her outfit choice can cause a man to sin. Does this make her more likely to end up in an abusive marriage? Does it make her more likely to have low self-esteem? To report problems in her sexual relationship? (Yes to all these.) Things like that.

Tools to Process My Own Experiences and Teach My Daughter a Healthier Way

There were certain chapters that read like pages out of my own life. It was honestly pretty eerie. I’ve known for a long time that some things I believed in high school and shortly afterward were wrong and dangerous, but those beliefs absolutely cost me. They left me vulnerable to situations in which bad stuff happened. They left me feeling as though I didn’t have choices in things that happened, and that I didn’t have any allies to whom I could turn for support.

So. Yeah. I don’t want to pass any of that on to my daughter. We’ve done a lot of learning about consent and a lot of teaching about personal boundaries and expectations. All of the things I’ve learned about those topics lined up with what the authors were saying here in SHE DESERVES BETTER.

I loved that again and again the book comes back to asking the question, “what happens to girls who were raised with these teachings?” That’s so important. We know that some of these things are really harmful, and it’s time to stop teaching them, and to push back in spaces where they are still being taught.

Topics Explored in She Deserves Better

Here’s a list of some of the topics/teachings explored in the book:

  • How teachings regarding feelings, especially anxiety and depression, can impact a girl’s health and life.
  • How teachings on boundaries impact girls and the importance of teaching girls they can set personal boundaries and expect them to be respected.
  • How dating and dating rules impact a girl’s lifelong relationships.
  • Learning to and teaching girls to identify red flags for toxic or dangerous people.
  • How a comprehensive sex education empowers girls to be safer and happier longterm.
  • How teachings about consent impact girls (and boys).
  • How teachings about modesty or clothing choices impacts how girls see themselves and others.
  • How teachings about leadership and submission impact girls.

Each chapter gives examples from the authors’ research supporting their assertions. They also offer conversations topics and exercises that moms and daughters could work through together.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

Representation
Doesn’t specify race details in any of the text or example stories. The intended audience is evangelical Christians.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
The authors use a metaphor about a candy that tasted delicious but caused explosive diarrhea to describe the harmfulness of teaching that looks or seems biblical at first but is not and causes harm.

Romance/Sexual Content
A fair amount of the book focuses on the way parents and church leaders teach girls about sex and relationships. It discusses how those teachings impact the likelihood of good or bad outcomes (happy marriages versus abusive relationships, etc).

The authors talk about the damage caused by rejecting a child or their feelings if they come to you to reveal their gender or sexual identity. Essentially the authors point out that being a part of a faith community generally lowers a child’s chance of experiencing suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide unless they are LGBTQIA+. Then, participation in a church community actually increases the likelihood they’ll have those thoughts or attempts.

Later on, the authors refer to an LGBTQIA+ identity as an “unwanted identity”. I’m not sure from the context if they’re intending to speak globally or referring to the feelings of homophobic parents.

The authors very plainly ask parents to choose to validate and love their kids no matter the feelings they have. They emphasize the importance of support from within their faith community.

Spiritual Content
The core premise of the book is to approach teachings about sex and modesty in the church and look at their effect on specifically women’s lives. Do those teachings bear good fruit, as described in Matthew 7:17-18?

Violent Content
Brief mentions of domestic violence, assault and abusive relationships.

Drug Content
Mentions of teens drinking alcohol and using drugs (as a negative behavior).

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of SHE DESERVES BETTER in exchange for my honest review.

Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo
HarperTeen
Published March 6, 2018

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About The Poet X

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

My Review

I’ve had a copy of this book for years, and somehow I hadn’t managed to read it before. When my youngest was little, I read WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo, and I loved the depth and descriptions in the book. Since then, I’ve been a huge fan of this author. So. Finally I read her award-winning, debut novel in verse.

And I loved it.

Which I suppose should not be a surprise.

As mentioned, it’s a novel in verse. Even though the lines are spare, the story is so rich with its descriptions, characters, and emotions. The relationship between Xiomara and her mom. Her brother. The priest. Her best friend, and a boy at school. They’re all so well-developed and described.

I also loved the way the story explored her feelings about her faith. It’s complicated. But Xio doesn’t really feel understood by or interested in church and the things the priest teaches in her confirmation class. Her mom has really specific expectations and beliefs about church and faith. Her brother has other beliefs and values as a devout person of faith. I liked that the story showed a spectrum of belief and experience without making the book really about those things.

Really, this is a story about a girl finding her voice. Believing in her value. Learning about love– how to love herself, how to love someone else, and how to receive love from others, too. It’s about the power of words.

So. Yeah. I feel like in a lot of ways, I’m still in awe of the story. I have a hard copy, but I also borrowed the audiobook (which is read by the author) from the library. As I read, I went back and forth between those two versions, and I really enjoyed both. I definitely recommend this book.

Content Notes on Poet X

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Representation
Xiomara is Dominican American.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
None.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Brief description of masturbation. Xio sees two boys walking together and realizes they are a couple.

Spiritual Content
Xio’s mom is very religious and focused on Xiomara’s confirmation and piety. Xiomara attends confirmation classes but has so many questions about her faith and why they aren’t learning stories about girls like her. Her priest says it’s important to let her take time to find the answers to those questions.

Xio describes her brother as being very devout.

Violent Content
Xiomara has a reputation as a fighter. She will beat up anyone who picks on her twin brother or use her fists to defend herself.

Drug Content
References to smoking pot. In one scene, she drinks a beer with a boy.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog.

Review: Begin Again by Emma Lord

Begin Again
Emma Lord
Wednesday Books
Published January 24, 2023

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About Begin Again

As usual, Andie Rose has a plan: Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and her trademark unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.

But the moment Andie arrives, the rest of her plans go off the rails. Her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Connor only gets more complicated when she discovers he transferred out of Blue Ridge to her community college. Her roommate Shay needs a major, and despite Andie’s impressive track record of being The Fixer, she’s stumped on how to help. And Milo, her coffee-guzzling grump of an R.A. with seafoam green eyes, is somehow disrupting all her ideas about love and relationships one sleep-deprived wisecrack at a time.

But sometimes, when all your plans are in rubble at your feet, you find out what you’re made of. And when Andie starts to find the power of her voice as the anonymous Squire on the school’s legendary pirate radio station–the same one her mom founded, years before she passed away–Andie learns that not all the best laid plans are necessarily the right ones.

Filled with a friend group that feels like family, an empowering journey of finding your own way, and a Just Kiss Already! romance, BEGIN AGAIN is an unforgettable novel of love and starting again.

My Review

Okay, yes, it’s absolutely a Just Kiss Already! romance. Haha. I was waiting for it for what felt like ages– in a good way. I loved the close knit group of friends that forms around Andie and the way they need each other and see through each other’s masks. Also, I liked the relationship between Andie and her dad and how that unfolded. I probably cried more in those scenes than anywhere else.

There was a good balance between Andie’s past, her connections at home, and the things going on with her in the present as she formed new connections at college. Some of the big scenes didn’t surprise me at all, but I never picked up this book expecting big surprises, so I was totally okay with that.

I really liked the way the romance unfolded and the tension between Andie and Milo. I loved the bagel shop, Milo’s family, the chicken coops and outdoor tours and all of those background things that added so much to the story.

All in all, BEGIN AGAIN was a super fun read. I enjoyed the romance and the fresh, fun college campus radio show setting.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Representation
Andie’s roommate Shay is Black. Two girls enter a romantic relationship with each other.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used fairly frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
None.

Violent Content
A violent snowstorm strikes Andie’s college campus, and she’s injured when a tree falls in the storm.

Drug Content
Andie and her friends drink alcohol one night after a stressful day and again at a large party.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of BEGIN AGAIN in exchange for my honest review.

Review: What Happened to Rachel Riley by Claire Swinarski

What Happened to Rachel Riley?
Claire Swinarski
Quill Tree Books
Published January 10, 2023

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About What Happened to Rachel Riley?

In this engrossing and inventive contemporary middle grade novel that’s Where’d You Go Bernadette? with a #MeToo message, an eighth grader uses social media posts, passed notes, and other clues to find out why a formerly popular girl is now the pariah of her new school.

Anna Hunt may be the new girl at East Middle School, but she can already tell there’s something off about her eighth-grade class. Rachel Riley, who just last year was one of the most popular girls in school, has become a social outcast. But no one, including Rachel Riley herself, will tell Anna why.

As a die-hard podcast enthusiast, Anna knows there’s always more to a story than meets the eye. So she decides to put her fact-seeking skills to the test and create her own podcast around the question that won’t stop running through her head: What happened to Rachel Riley?

With the entire eighth grade working against her, Anna dives headfirst into the evidence. Clue after clue, the mystery widens, painting an even more complex story than Anna could have anticipated. But there’s one thing she’s certain of: If you’re going to ask a complicated question, you better be prepared for the fallout that may come with the answer.

My Review

I really enjoyed both of the other books by Claire Swinarski – THE KATE IN BETWEEN and WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Both explore relationships between girls and show a lot of the complexity and the way relationships change in middle school. I love that about both those books.

And I love it about WHAT HAPPENED TO RACHEL RILEY? as well. What begins as Anna’s curiosity and perhaps a well-meaning attempt to understand why a girl has been ostracized unearths a whole mess of events that it’s clear her new classmates would rather keep quiet. She pieces events together, and then has to decide what to do about the painful truths she’s learned.

The emotional journey that Anna takes feels very real and genuine. She’s not always right. She struggles. Sometimes she missteps. But her experiences and responses to them made sense and drew me deeper into the story. I needed to know what would happen.

This is definitely the kind of book I wish I’d had in seventh grade, and one I wish my daughter had had, too. I think it’s a great resource for middle school classrooms and libraries. Readers who enjoyed UPSTANDER by James Preller or CHIRP by Kate Messner will not want to miss this one.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 10 to 14.

Representation
Anna’s mother emigrated to the US as a college student. Anna, her sister, and her mother speak Polish and English.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
References to crude comments about girls’ bodies.

Romance/Sexual Content
No romantic content. See spoiler section at the end.

Spiritual Content
None.

Violent Content
See spoiler section at the end.

Drug Content
None.

***

***

Spoilers

Boys at Anna’s school created a game in which they assigned point values for different girls. Boys would receive points for snapping a girl’s bra strap or slapping her butt. Some scenes show boys snapping a girl’s bra.

The story addresses this as absolutely wrong and explores how different girls feel in the moment and the ways they try to deal with it. For the most part, I love the way this topic is handled in the book. I felt like the girls’ reactions were realistic for girls at this age. Some wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening because they were too uncomfortable speaking up. Others tried to speak up but were shamed for it. Sometimes adults responded appropriately. Other times not so much.

So it felt very real. The story also didn’t feel forced to me. Things unfolded in a very organic way, and the issue didn’t overshadow the characters or their choices.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of WHAT HAPPENED TO RACHEL RILEY? in exchange for my honest review.