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YA Review: You Know I'm No Good by Jessie Ann Foley

Title: You know I'm No Good
Author: Jessie Ann Foley
Year published: 2020
Category: YA fiction
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (MN)

SummaryMia is officially a Troubled Teen™— she gets bad grades, drinks too much, and has probably gone too far with too many guys.

But she doesn’t realize how out of control she seems until she is taken from her home in the middle of the night and sent away to Red Oak Academy, a therapeutic girls' boarding school in the middle of nowhere.

While there, Mia is forced to confront her painful past at the same time she questions why she's at Red Oak. If she were a boy, would her behavior be considered wild enough to get sent away? But what happens when circumstances outside of her control compel Mia to make herself vulnerable enough to be truly seen?

Review: I really enjoyed Foley's other book that I read, Sorry for Your Loss (link to my review) and this one was good, but not as great as Sorry for Your LossIt took me a while to get through this book as I got interrupted with family visits and a couple audio books. But once I got some solid time to read, it worked for me.

Yes, Mia is a challenge. She does drugs, sleeps around, gets in trouble, but what have the adults in her life done to help her deal with the death of her mother, a nasty stepmom, and peers who are horrible to her? Not much. I think so many of our "troubled teens" need someone to pay attention to them, really listen to them, and support them rather than sending them away or labeling them as "bad." The nice thing is that by the end this all begins to happen for Mia. Too bad it took years for it to happen.

Many important issues are raised through Mia. Think how society views women/girls' bodies, what they choose to do with it, who is blamed for sexual behavior, and more. It's all on the females and this is brought to the fore in this book in a really good way as Mia learns to slow down, think about her life and how she has been treated. Other ways of dealing with stress (cutting, Trichotillomania, etc) are also woven into the lives of the girls at Red Oak School, which I think is valuable for YA readers.

I think the cover does a good job of capturing Mia and her essence and I can see why this was a Morris Debut Award finalist.

Challenges for which this counts: none

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