Addie on the Inside

James Howe. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4169-1384-9
Written in narrative verse that has the rhythm and punch of spoken-word poetry, this companion to The Misfits and Totally Joe intimately conveys the internal conflicts of seventh-grader Addie, whose outspokenness makes her a target for ridicule at school. As bold and confident as she may appear, Addie is filled with worries both external ("I worry how in the world/ the world will ever be okay. Then/ I turn off my alarm/ and get on with the day") and internal, particularly regarding her relationships with her boyfriend, DuShawn, and her catty former friend, Becca. Addie's attempts to organize a Day of Silence don't go as planned, but she gains support in unexpected places and, as someone seldom at a loss for words, she finds her self-imposed quiet revelatory. Howe's artfully crafted lines show Addie's intelligence and wit, and his imagery evokes the aura of sadness surrounding "this purgatory of/ the middle school years/ when so many things/ that never mattered before/ and will never matter again/ matter." Readers will empathize with Addie's anguish and admire her courage to keep fighting. Ages 10–14. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/16/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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