June 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner | SLJ Review

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redstarKISNER, Adrienne. Dear Rachel Maddow. 272p. Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250146021.

Gr 8 Up –Brynn Harper had a cute girlfriend and a spot on the school newspaper, both of which she loved, but she began having troubles concentrating on either after her brother died. When her teacher tells her to start writing to her hero, she chooses her ex-girlfriend’s instead; Brynn isn’t the type of girl to have heroes. But slowly, it morphs into something genuine and she continues to write—and not send—missives about her life to political commentator Rachel Maddow. What unfolds is a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful tale of a struggling student who sees an injustice and steps in. She does so unwillingly, but still, she does. Brynn is realistically depicted and even though this novel is epistolary, the supporting characters are well fleshed out, too. Lacey, Brynn’s tutor and best friend who is a wheelchair user, is never tokenized as a disabled sidekick and has her own arc and love interest. There are some depictions of abuse and the aftereffects of a loved one overdosing, so some may find it a hard read. It is an underdog story, not necessarily of triumph, but of perseverance against terrible odds. VERDICT A necessary purchase wherever there are teens.–Kathryn Kania, Pelham Public Library, Pelham NH

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.



  1. I am not a teen. I don’t work with teens. But I MUST read this book!!

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