304p. Viking. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780670012107.
RedReviewStarGr 8 Up—Novelist Anderson has terrified adults and earned nods of recognition from teenagers with her unflinching portrayals of sexual assault, eating disorders, and self-harm. With this searing memoir in verse, she revisits the trauma that sliced through her and her family: the father shattered by memories of serving in World War II, the mother worn down by picking up the pieces, and the rape that buried teenage Laurie in a deep depression and laid the roots for her novel Speak. Anderson's wordplay is sophisticated, disturbing imagery underscoring her pain—a girl without eyelids, a girl submerged in cement. She's as witheringly sarcastic as her protagonists, yet she possesses hard-won wisdom and a mixture of honesty and tenderness. It's as though Speak's Melinda made it through the fire, emerging as a warrior bent on combating rape culture. Though the rape devastated Anderson, she stresses that a lifetime of seemingly small injustices (entitled boys, flirtatious professors) also eroded her self-worth. Her rage on behalf of all those who have been wounded is palpable, yet she envisions a different world, where consent and respect are the norm.
VERDICT More than a gifted writer, Anderson is an advocate for anyone who feels alienated. Her sensitive, incisive book is essential for all young people.

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