Thursday, February 13, 2020

What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume - OPTIONAL

What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume, 304 pages. Peachtree Publishing, 2020. $18.

Language: R (106 swears, 16 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG



Discovery: Maisie, 16yo, is not thrilled about this vacation. Evidence: Ms. Singh assigned homework over the break in the form of a daily discovery journal -- a journal that Maisie’s mother is going to check on every day. Also, Maisie’s dad didn’t come on their annual Christmas trip, which Maisie is pretty sure is a sign of impending divorce. Meanwhile, Maisie’s best friend Anna did come on the trip, which should be a good thing, but Anna is totally flirting with Maisie’s crush Sebastian! Oh, and Maisie has terrible self-esteem, but that’s always been there.

Guillaume highlights all the reasons that I don’t love journal-style novels. Maisie introduces topics and skips over scenes in the moment to fill in the readers later, making the story more choppy and quasi-suspenseful than is preferred. While I love the message of Maisie’s story -- that we need to love ourselves regardless of how we physically compare to others and the current standard of beauty -- the execution of Maisie’s journal and a lot of Maisie’s choices on the way to that important realization is mediocre. The mature content rating is for underage drinking, innuendo, implied sex, and nudity.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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