Review: Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
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. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up 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 anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; 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. Like Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, Christine Heppermann is a voice to turn to for the truth of difficult subjects. Ask Me How I Got Here is a literary exploration of sexuality, religion, and self-discovery.
One primary word that comes to my mind as I close my Kindle and reflect on the book I just finished here…interesting. First off let me start by saying this is an extremely quick read, as in I finished the book in under 2 hours. It is a very fast read; however, the story is interesting and keeps you pulled in. The story is written in terms of poetry, which I have noticed is becoming the hot new “it” style in YA as of lately. The verse is beautiful and thought provoking but at times makes following conversations difficult. Now, lets dive into the characters and what I liked and didn’t like.
The characters are complex, and Heppermann captures the freedom that running brings effortlessly. Addie is relate-able but at times confusing in her quick-decision-making teenage mind. While there are moments when she seems to be predictable, there are also moments when I did not see the flow of the story taking such a rapid and abrupt turn. The story line takes a dramatic, curt turn around 80% in and I found this very random and I thought it disrupted the flow of the story.
The ending is also very blunt, I felt like the story wasn’t quite over and that Addie didn’t never really came to terms with her abortion. I felt like she found herself questioning relationships and religion and in the end, her secrets were kept and there was no closure. I needed about 50-100 more pages to truly wrap up this story and be content with it.
“Under the streetlamp, yellow leaves swarm like lost bees. Do the trees feel lighter without them?”
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