When the Stars Wrote Back: Poems

Random. Jun. 2020. 208p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593172674.
Gr 9 Up–Stream of consciousness autobiographical poems and short essays explore relationships, sexuality, addiction, depression, eating disorders, and assault. The writing is interspersed with drawings, lists, sketches, and hand-lettered quotes creating the voyeuristic sense of reading someone’s diary or therapy journal. The narrator unpacks all the messiness of her family, love-life, and self-esteem. Pulling everything out for examination, contemplation, and moving slowly towards resolution and healing. The sections of the book: Half-Light, Midnight, Starfall, and Dawn follow the narrator’s arc of self-realization and growth, ending on the hopeful note “I am my own universe.” Many young adults will find topics and situations they have experienced or can relate to in these pages, along with the encouragement to continue despite many of the difficult challenges they will encounter on the road to adulthood.
VERDICT The combination of poetry, self-help language, artwork, and quotes will appeal to young and new adults. A good purchase for larger libraries.

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