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Review: The Geography of Girlhood (Smith)

Title: The Geography of Girlhood
Author: Kirsten Smith
Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 184
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: YA
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the back of the book): Penny is ready to escape the pocket of home, ready to be in love, ready to find her way in the world. Navigating the choppy waters of teenage life, she confronts teh complicated truths of her not quite-normal family, the highs and lows of high school, her lost mother, and her lost best friend, and on alluring bad boy who just might be more adventure than she bargained for.

Review: This is my first book that is written in verse. I have completely avoided verse books thinking that I wouldn't like them. Wrong! I really enjoyed this book! The attendance clerk at my school reads a lot and as soon as she finished this one she told me I should read it. She said "this book really captures how we all remember high school and the writing is wonderful." She's right! And now, for the first quote I ever included in a book review... (this is Penny talking about her mother who has left the family)

"She had the beauty of a fire alarm;
loud and hard to ignore,
always too late to stop the house from burning down.
I don't remember much about her
just that she was an expert at drinking too much
and falling down just a little,
and she always said glass could cut glass,
a diamond was nothing special."

The author has a great writing style that leave nothing out, but doesn't waste a single word. Each "chapter" or poem is one page or less long and they all connect to create Penny's story of 9th and 10th grade.

I read this book in one day and I think it's a great way to read it because you get into the flow of the verse and very quickly move through the book.

Rather than getting to know each character well as the reader does in a prose book, we get to know Penny. Others are on the periphery of our knowledge even if they play a huge role in Penny's life. There is no dialogue or opinions from other characters, just Penny and her thoughts. Penny could be any girl in high school. She wants to date, wants to be liked, worries about her friends, and doesn't want to be embarrassed, especially in front of her peers. She wants to escape her boring little town and what she considers her boring little life, but in the end she realizes how much she likes her life.


Stephanie said...

I haven't read anything written completely in verse. I am highly skeptical--I just don't know if that is a medium that I would respond positively to.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Stephanie--I was also very skeptical. For instance, I haven't read all the hugely popular Ellen Hopkins books for that very reason. But, this book worked for me, maybe because each "chapter" was so short (less than a page).

Athira said...

I stay away from verse books too - I tried a couple and they didn't work, but if I hear of a really good book, I do give it a try. Since you highly recommend this, I'll add it to my radar.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Aths--I normally wouldn't try a verse book either, but it was recommended so I went for it. It was the right book at the right time