For every book we read during the book club, we’ll write a review so that anyone who couldn’t be there can still join in with the fun! Saskia den Ouden is our YA book club reviewer, judging all the books we read.
I have to admit something. This is the first book that I’ve read that’s written in verse. I’ve read poetry before, mostly for school, but a novel like this I hadn’t encountered. So I don’t exactly know how to review it.
It features 20 teenagers who all go to the same high school and every verse is written from their perspective. It deals with a lot of themes teenagers struggle with; sexuality, relationships, identity, death, image maintenance, living up to expectations and growing up
Some of the verses are funny, others are far more serious. As a whole the book worked, I have to say, but some kids you will relate to and others not so much.
For once I will make specific mentions. Two of my favorites were Tyler and Jill, who are in a relationship. From his side he’s frustrated that she seems to be in love with Holden Caulfield (and as a former high school student, I understand that because Holden is deeply problematic), even though he is right there to love and hold her. On the other side of that equation there is Jill, who sees herself as a problematic person like Holden and clings to him, because she can’t hurt him like she has others, which makes the entire relationship so complex and realistic.
One that was harder to comprehend was Anne’s poem. She’s in a relationship with Zach and she likes literature. Her verses are chopped up in different moments that describe her life. I had a hard time with it, because I didn’t really understand how it all fit together, because they didn’t have one ongoing theme.
I personally think that there is something for everyone in this book. There is at least one person you will relate to. The characters are incredibly diverse and written complexly enough that they don’t stamp out archetypes. And if you’re a beginner at poetry and verse books, this is an excellent starter. It has beautiful, but mostly uncomplicated language and some fun easter eggs in the layout to look for.