Addie on the Inside, by James Howe (2012)

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Contemporary
Interest Level: 11-14
Addie On The InsideThis novel in verse is a companion novel to two others by James Howe – The Misfits and Totally Joe. I haven’t read either one, but might now. I loved this book, and wish he’d published it oh, 30 plus years ago so I could have read it when I really needed it! Addie is 13, in Grade 7, and cares deeply about all the wrong things – animal cruelty, global warming, war, violence, even “the economy and national debt.” She does not care about make-up, her bra size, the right shoes or gossip. She loves her parents, her cats and her friends, and worst of all, she loves school, including an apparent crush on Ms. Watkins. Put it all together, and Addie is truly mystified by the purgatory that is middle school. She tries and gets it wrong every time. Somehow, in spite of all this she has three good friends (all boys), and a remarkably good-looking and popular boyfriend more intrigued than put off by her geekiness (okay, that IS a stretch). Addie has to learn to accept herself, and along the way accept others as she demands they accept her. Sure, it’s a bit predictable and the verse is annoyingly uneven in both rhyme and rhythm (rhyme or not rhyme; there is no try). But Addie is delightful, buoyant and passionate, and remarkably authentic. She made me laugh and cry, touching me in places I thought had long been too scarred to feel. Howe has absolutely nailed the tween girl’s voice in this, and it is just a pleasure to read, once you get past the rocky poetry. I’ll be looking up the other two when this one goes back to library.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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