Tuesday, June 21, 2016

review: read me like a book by liz kessler

As Ashleigh approaches the end of sixth form college, her life takes a number of turns. In emotionally shattering scenes, she falls out with her best friend, she worries she may be pregnant after having unprotected sex, and her parents announce they are splitting. Although Ashleigh’s never been much of a student, she’s started feeling a connection with her English teacher and confides her troubles in Miss Murray. In fact, Ashleigh is quite infatuated by Miss Murray—she even joins debate club because of her—and it is a conversation with Miss Murray that leads Ashleigh to the sudden realization that she likes girls not boys. This is the one element of Read Me Like a Book that feels a little off. The way Ashleigh’s coming out comes about makes it seem like she wants to be gay because her favorite teacher is. Liz Kessler tries to remedy this by having some of the people close to Ashleigh announce that they always knew she was gay, but all of the reactions feel like stereotypical responses. But Kessler also writes great scenes between Ashleigh and an age-appropriate female love interest that indicate Ashleigh’s sexuality has nothing to do with her obsession with her English teacher.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Candlewick.

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