Girls Write Now: Two Decades of True Stories from Young Female Voices
336p. Tin House. Oct. 2018. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781947793057.
Gr 7 Up—Collecting two decades of work, this spirited anthology contains essays from 116 teen participants in the Girls Write Now after-school program in New York City. The pieces are brief—some as short as two paragraphs, with few spanning more than three pages. The collection explores topics such as faith, family, physical and mental illness, grief, racism, bullying, activism, cultural identity, and more. Standout essays include Romaissaa Benzizoune's "Hijabi or Jihadi?," Marquisele Mercedes's "Life in Odd Numbers," and Emily del Carmen Ramirez's "Rising." The collection makes for a rich reading experience, but it lacks LGBTQ voices (there were as many entries about training bras—two each). The essays are interspersed with quotations from figures such as Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Alice Walker.
VERDICT Purchase for young writers interested in reading works by their peers or where personal essays are in demand.

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