Ask Me How I Got Here
Booklist Reviews 2016 April #2
Addie has got a great boyfriend, a fantastic cross-country record at her all-girls Catholic high school, and a powerful talent for poetry. When she gets pregnant, she doesn't face terrible strife: her parents are supportive, her boyfriend isn't angry, and it's over in a flash. But in the aftermath, she finds herself reevaluating many of her choices, especially track, and, surprisingly, deeply drawn to a track-star alumna who is taking a break from both running and college. Addie keeps the abortion close to her chest, pouring her ruminations into her poems, which consider guilt, Catholicism, and, in particular, her connection to the Virgin Mary. Heppermann's free-verse poems glide over many of the stickier parts, pausing meaningfully to focus on Addie's emotions, which are brought into sharpest relief in the presence of a bullish antiabortion classmate. While her abortion is a catalyzing event, ultimately this thought-provoking novel in verse is more about well-rounded Addie's gratifying process of self-determination than her choice to end her pregnancy. This absorbing book would be an excellent choice for teen book groups. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Fall
Catholic-school sophomore Addie loves running cross-country, writing poetry, and having sex with her boyfriend. Then Addie gets pregnant. Her choice to have an abortion, although significant, is just one of many in her larger coming-of-age story. Addie muses on morality, religion, and sexuality; her observations are thought-provoking, wry, and bitingly smart. Addie easily outshines the "issues" in this remarkable verse novel.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2016 #3
hen Addie gets pregnant. Her decision to have an abortion is unwavering, and she has the support of Nick and her parents. Heppermann explores the aftermath of Addie's decision with striking sensitivity and candor. Addie's choice, although significant, is just one of many in her larger coming-of-age story: she quits the cross-country team, grows ambivalent toward Nick, and enters a romantically charged friendship with fellow runner Juliana. Addie narrates in forthright, occasionally cheeky free verse: from "What Choice Do I Have?": "Fling myself out the window? / (The screen is jammed.) / Run off and join the Marines? / (I look bad in hats). / Hope the Earth explodes in the next ten seconds? / (One Mississippi, Two Mississippi… / Damn)." Her struggles, though, are real and never downplayed -- and neither, thankfully, are they histrionic. In interspersed poems presented in a hand-lettered typeface, Addie muses on morality, religion, and sexuality (for instance, expressing strong feelings about how young women, whether they are sexually active or the Virgin Mary, are so readily "reduced to a womb"); her observations are thought-provoking, wry, and bitingly smart. With her vibrant voice and rich characterization, Addie easily outshines the "issues" in this remarkable verse novel. jessica tackett macdonald
PW Reviews 2016 February #2
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. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (May)[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC