Full of razors that cut—and razors to cut off shackles: a must.

POISONED APPLES

POEMS FOR YOU, MY PRETTY

A slim volume sharp as knives.

Lacing traditional fairy tales through real-life perils, Heppermann produces short poems with raw pain, scathing commentary and fierce liberation. There’s no linear arc; instead, girls buck and fight and hurt. One poem takes the expression “You Go, Girl!” literally, banishing anyone with “wetness, dryness, tightness, looseness, / redness, yellowing, blackheads, whiteheads, the blues.” In a structure heartbreakingly inverted from “The Three Little Pigs” (and nodding to “Rumpelstiltskin”), one girl’s body goes from “a house of bricks, / point guard on the JV team” to “a house of sticks, / kindling in Converse high-tops,” until finally “she’s building herself out of straw / as light as the needle swimming in her bathroom scale. / The smaller the number, the closer to gold.” She’s her own wolf, destroying herself. Sexual repression, molestation and endless beauty judgments bite and sting, causing eating disorders, self-injury, internalization of rules—and rebellion. A hypothetical miller’s daughter says, “No, I can’t spin that room full of straw into gold. / …. / No, I can’t give you the child; / the child will never exist.” Gretel’s act of eating will literally rescue Hansel; Red Riding Hood reclaims sexual agency, declaring, “If that woodsman shows up now, / I will totally kick his ass.”

Full of razors that cut—and razors to cut off shackles: a must. (author’s note, index of first lines, index of photographs) (Poetry. 13-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228957-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Despite the subtitle, this book’s affirming messages can serve diverse genders.

SCHOOL OF AWAKE

A GIRL'S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE

In the opening of this self-esteem builder, Kidada Jones tells readers that the education system failed her; she matriculated through 11 schools and was kicked out of eight.

This is the book she didn’t have growing up. It starts with the premise that a girl is a mini-universe, referencing astrophysics that teaches how atoms and molecules in our bodies contain the same materials that exist in the visible universe. Each chapter ends with a “So you’re telling me this because…?” section, offering an alternative teaching model that explains the benefit of each lesson. Throughout the book, readers are advised to create a “soul-soothing tool kit,” a shoe box to be filled with affordable, creative supplies that are used for ongoing activities related to the theme of each chapter. Lessons include mindfulness exercises, reflective writing activities, yoga poses, and affirmations, along with several activities that help inspire mental and emotional well-being. Jones offers healthy-eating tips that include simple and nutritious recipes. This book has a strong New Age feel, with its allusions to the power of energy, vibes, and dreamcatchers, but it also gets practical, addressing bullying, crushes, and learning how to be a good friend. The coolest thing about this book is that none of the activities involve using social media, leaving readers to truly tap into the creative, undistracted self.

Despite the subtitle, this book’s affirming messages can serve diverse genders. (Nonfiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60868-458-8

Page Count: 168

Publisher: New World Library

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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An up-to-date if not in-depth introduction to a topic that has certainly affected many people’s lives throughout the ages.

TYING THE KNOT

A WORLD HISTORY OF MARRIAGE

Royal weddings, a campaign for toilets in India linked to marriage, and trash-the-dress photo shoots (a new U.S. custom) are introduced in this whirlwind tour of courtship, marriage, and divorce.

Using catchy chapter headings (“Control Freaks” focuses on the historical, political, and economic reasons for marriage), this slim volume offers a cursory glance at marriage in many religions, the ancient world, and some contemporary cultures, primarily the U.S. and Great Britain. China, Japan, and India are mentioned, while most European cultures are lumped together. The chapter on polygamy, “More Ways Than One,” starts off highlighting Zulu traditions with Jacob Zuma, the South African president with four current wives. Scant information about Latin America, the Middle East, and the Pacific region appears. Same-sex marriage and interfaith and interracial marriage are covered in “Forbidden Love,” which starts with celebrity couples such as David Bowie and Iman (white and black, Christian and Muslim) and Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka (two men). The legal struggles for interracial marriage (1967 Loving v. Virginia) and same-sex marriage (2015 Obergefell v. Hodges) are summarized, but the last sentence of the chapter again refers back to famous couples. This celebrity approach and such sections as “Over-the-Top Weddings,” along with references to YouTube and Vimeo, seem meant to ensure teen interest. Photographs (mostly in color) are clear and relevant. Readers can tease out interesting takes on feminism and women’s history. Some self-help sidebars on dating and relationships are generalized and superfluous.

An up-to-date if not in-depth introduction to a topic that has certainly affected many people’s lives throughout the ages. (source notes, glossary, selected bibliography, further information, index) (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4677-9242-4

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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