Weekend Pick for September 16, 2022
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This novel in verse is incredibly moving and simultaneously gorgeous. I may or may not have shed a tear or two while walking my dog, and Sprinkles enjoyed several extra turns around the block thanks to this audio book! I found myself wanting to sink into the language while I listened to the narrator grapple with the painful aspects of coming of age.
No heartache is more painful than the first one you get from a best friend, and Mahogany L. Browne’s depiction of the betrayal and heartache ricocheted me back in time. As the narrator submerges herself in the safety of the pool to dull the sound of her best friend laughing at some boy’s ugly comments, your heart can’t help but ache for her.
The lyrics and poetry speak to the painful self-doubt and insecurity every teen goes through, but with a raw sense of power and strength underneath it all. When the narrator comes alive on the court, we see her strength, and we see how she refuses to be seen as “just a girl”. Listening to her talk about not playing small made me want to pump my fist in the air while walking my dog and cheer her on-while also considering the own ways that I might play small.
The line that made me stop in my tracks and gets to the heart of this gorgeous and powerful book was the one where she says she “feels like I just can’t breathe-but it sounds like I just can’t be.”
In a world where we are all told to be this, that, or the other thing, sometimes we just can’t be, and Mahogany L. Browne’s book gives us all a roadmap about how to learn to truly “be” and to not play small.
The gift of her narration was the cherry on top-or chocolate drizzle-or whatever makes things sweeter and more delicious for you! I typically struggle to stay focused with audio books, but this one will stay in my heart for years to come.