This Will Be Funny Someday

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks.. Jan. 2021. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062955708.
Gr 8 Up–Sixteen-year-old plant enthusiast Isabel Vance has trained herself over the years to be agreeable and keep her true thoughts to herself—even if it means being the butt of jokes, missing conversations due to her auditory processing disorder, or rationalizing her boyfriend Alex’s increasingly isolating and controlling behavior. An attempt to avoid Alex one afternoon results in Isabel accidentally signing up for an open mic comedy show. One rocky set later, Isabel finds herself lying about being in college and exchanging numbers with college senior and aspiring stand-up Mo. Isabel, or “Izzy” as she is now known to her new college friends, starts to blossom within the stand-up scene, slowly gaining the courage to speak rather than just think. Eventually, it becomes harder for Isabel to convince herself that everything is OK while keeping her worlds separate. Henry delivers a complex coming-of-age narrative of a teenager gaining the courage to be her true self. Comedy nerds and novices alike will enjoy Isabel’s introduction to the stand-up scene, but the story’s core value lies in Isabel finding her voice and coming to terms with her abusive relationship. Readers unfamiliar with the insidious cycle of emotional abuse will gain insight as they witness Alex’s toxic behavior and the ways Isabel rationalizes it. Isabel is white, and the supporting cast is of various races and backgrounds.
VERDICT An engaging take on stand-up comedy grafted together with an important look at toxic relationships. Recommended.

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