Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann (Greenwillow Books, 2016; 240 pages)
The author of the acclaimed Poised Apples, Christine Heppermann, has written a brave, beautiful and thought-provoking novel in verse about a young woman and the aftermath of a life-altering decision. This is a book about Addie, a young adult who has always known what she was running toward: in cross country, in life and in love. Her life turns around when unexpectedly she gets pregnant and she chooses to end the pregnancy. This book is not a book about making the decision of having an abortion. This is a story about accepting how our decisions will alter or shape who we are, for better or for worse. This is also a story about love, acceptance, great families, and self-discovery. For Addy, her choice was the right decision to make, but after it was made, nothing was the same.
It is rare to find young adult books that approach this topic the way that Christine Heppermann has. She has been able to bring us a character who is not defined by the choice she takes. You won't find here the typical pregnant teen story. The raw sincerity of the author allows the character to exist with the choice she made, without being just that.
The novel is an emotional journey in verse of a very important and delicate moment in the life of a woman who will discover beautiful and surprising facts about herself in the aftermath of her life-altering decision. The writing is gorgeous and adults and mature teens not looking for radical answers about abortion and its consequences will appreciate the author's sensitivity and honesty. She has absolutely nailed the portrait of Addy, with all her complexities. Her honesty is fantastic and the free verse poems are a perfect vessel to let it run. The reader will find herself or himself carried along by humor and emotion, rawness and deep thoughts.
From the novel:
Going home from work on the bus,
a woman sat next to a man who was
eating a falafel wrap. It smelled incredible,
so she asked him where he got it.
That's why I exist:
Because my mother chose not to stand.
Because my father was not
in the mood for Chinese.
Find this title in our catalog: Ask Me How I Got Here
Recommended by: Maite