Danielle Levine isn't your average high school senior. She definitely stands out with her green eyes, orange hair, plus-sized figure, and "unique learning profile". In order to cope with not fitting in, she decides to write autobiographical essays for her "me-moir", a locked and color-coded binder safely hidden from the view of others. She also decides to write scathingly honest essays for her English class, which lands her an recurring appointment with the school psychologist as well as a spot in a "social skills" class. There, she meets another loner named Daniel who has an obsession with The Big Lebowski. Daniel could just be the one to help her break her cycle of loneliness and help her fit in.
I adored this book. I really appreciated the style of writing. Danielle's story unfolds with a mix of English essays, "me-moir" entries, and emails. She is an extremely likeable character. She's quirky (she likes to dress up in period hats and costumes and reenact scenes from Jane Eyre), honest (her essays often receive bad grades for her lack of formality), and real. She feels and sounds like a real teen. Whether or not the reader has a learning disability, they will be able to relate to Danielle in some way.
There are a lot of topics that are addressed in this fairly little book: OCD, adoption (Danielle is adopted), body image issues (Danielle feels like she is too fat), coming out (Daniel comes out to Danielle), fitting in and being popular, unrequited crushes (she has a crush on the popular boy), etc. However, the story never feels preachy or loaded down with these issues. You'll feel like you are reading an all-too real account about being a teen. Danielle is a great narrator. She is honest about herself and her situation and sardonic about it to boot.
This is a great read for teens who enjoy realistic fiction with a wicked sense of humor. The diary-like writing style will also appeal to reluctant readers.
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- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie