Words, emotions, and two irreverent senses of humor collide in Sher and Wertz’s (Drinking at the Movies, 2015, etc.) debut book for teens.
For all those whose frustration at being unable to name a particular emotion has ever overtaken the emotion they are unable to name, this clever lexicon is here to provide relief. In a witty if occasionally inelegant alignment of form and function, the author’s collection of imaginative portmanteaus (and one acronym), such as “irredependent” (irrational + independent) and “castrapolate” (catastrophe + extrapolate), pay homage to the complexity of feelings. Meanwhile, with humor just this side of ribald, Wertz’s comic-strip illustrations demonstrate that, while emotional complexity can elude definition, it is just as universal to the human condition as birth, death, and forgetting people’s names as soon as they’ve introduced themselves (“namenesia”). Situated somewhere between Urban Dictionary and a beginner’s guide to anxiety and introversion, the book highlights the importance of emotional literacy but stops short of addressing emotional competence, relying instead on the audience’s developed sense of irony to understand the validity of the newly named feelings while also managing to recognize any unhealthy emotional practices.
Emotionally beleaguered teen and adult readers who overlook the book’s juvenile packaging will find both clarity and camaraderie in its definitions. (Nonfiction. 15 & up)