FREAKING OUT by Polly Wells


Real-Life Stories About Anxiety
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 11 - 18
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Thirteen young adults relate their struggles with anxiety.

The tales, each occupying a chapter, feature varied causes for the anxiety: Obsessive-compulsive disorder, bullying, grief, drug abuse, a phobia, a learning disorder, chronic illness and developing awareness of homosexuality are all given attention. An opening caveat informs readers that the stories “derive from interviews with young people” and “some elements drawn from different sources have been combined to present hybrid stories.” Perhaps due to this technique, the flavor of the stories varies little. All of the voices are remarkably similar and lack the gritty authenticity that the voices of the teens themselves could have provided. The paralyzing anxiety they experienced is unfortunately dampened by the brief, matter-of-fact style of the narrative. “The mean girls knew how to find me. It was beyond scary.” A common, positive theme is that the teens found effective ways to manage their anxiety. The stories provide descriptions of coping tools but not in enough detail to substitute for needed professional help. An afterword offers comfort and advice, as well as a lengthy list of useful resources.

Seeming more like a volume therapists might assign their patients to read than one teenagers would pick up on their own, this effort may still provide some assistance to those struggling with anxiety. (Nonfiction. 11-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-55451-545-5
Page count: 136pp
Publisher: Annick Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2013


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