How do you define yourself? By your friends? Your family? Your boyfriend? Your grades? Your trophies? Your choices? By a single choice? From the author of the acclaimed Poisoned Apples comes a novel in verse about a young woman and the aftermath of a life-altering decision. Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins will find the powerful questions, the difficult truths, and the inner strength that speak to them in Ask Me How I Got Here.
Addie has always known what she was running toward, whether in cross country, in her all-girls Catholic school, or in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night, and she gets pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross country anymore; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places. Once again, Christine Heppermann writes with an unflinching honesty and a deep sensitivity about the complexities of being a teenager, being a woman. Her free verse poems are moving, provocative, and often full of wry humor and a sharp wit.
In concise, passionate poems set over several months, Addie, a sophomore and cross-country runner at Immaculate Heart Academy, narrates the turbulent journey that begins with her crush on a student named Nick, includes her unplanned pregnancy and subsequent abortion, and examines the feelings that subsequently engulf her. While Heppermann used fairy tale elements to heighten the experiences of contemporary girlhood in Poisoned Apples, Addie's poems do so through evocative religious imagery: "Sunday Morning" describes lovemaking ("His mouth a skittish liturgy/ along my neck,/ my need a holy ache,/ a blessing") while "Mercy" offers her parents' and boyfriend's understanding response to her news ("Nick comes over. My/ parents go out, come home later/ with mint chip ice cream"). The Virgin Mary figures in many poems, giving voice to Addie's frustrations and questions: "She never had to listen/ to excuses from Joseph/ about how he meant/ to bring protection" and "Maybe she had a favorite song,/ a mole on her chin, a secret dream/ that, after a while, not even she/ remembered." Heppermann's discerning and incisive verse elegantly conveys the heightened sensitivity and multilayered complexity of Addie's emotions. Ages 14 up.
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This is now my favorite book ever