Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Addie on the Inside by James Howe

Title:Addie on the Inside
Author:James Howe
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Imprint:Atheneum Books
Pub. Date:07/26/2011
ISBN:141691384X (ISBN13: 9781416913849)

The Gang of Five is back in this third story from Paintbrush Falls. Addie Carle, the only girl in the group of friends is outspoken, opinionated, and sometimes…just a bit obnoxious.

But as seventh grade progresses, Addie’s not so sure anymore about who she is. It seems her tough exterior is just a little too tough and that doesn’t help her deal with the turmoil she feels on the inside as she faces the pains of growing up.

Told in elegant, accessible verse, ADDIE ON THE INSIDE gives readers a look at a strong, smart, and sensitive girl struggling with the box society wants to put her in. Addie confronts experiences many readers will relate to: the loss of a beloved pet, first heartbreak, teasing…but also, friendship, love, and a growing confidence in one’s self.

You Are Who They Say You Are

They say in the seventh grade
you are who they say you are,
but how can that be true?
How can I be a /Godzilla-girl /lezzie loser /know-it-all/
big-mouth /beanpole /string bean/ freaky tall/
fall-down /spaz attack /brainiac /maniac/
hopeless nerd /*bad word*/brown-nosing /teacher’s pet/
showing off /just to get
attention –
and did I mention:
How can I be all that?
It’s too many things to be.
How can I be all that and
still be true to the real me 
while everyone is saying: 

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)


Told through poetry, Addie on the Inside is all about Addie Carle, a young woman on a mission to make the world a better place. She's having to deal with a lot of stuff- lack of development physically, overabundant development mentally, first boyfriend, fitting in socially, and so many other things. By the end of the book, some things have drastically changed for Addie. However, nothing will ever change her sense of justice and desire to do some good for the world.

I love that authors are experimenting for young adults and writing in verse. It's a great way to show that self expression can be done in many different ways. That being said, I'm not sure this book was entirely successful. It was a bit difficult to get into the story. Of course, I have not read any of the other books with these characters that preceeded this one, so that may have been part of the problem. Sometimes I felt like Addie didn't read like a girl to me, and to be honest there were times I didnt' really like her at all. I understand her need to champion the causes she believed it, but at times she came across as rather pretentious. 

Addie did seem to soften up some as the book went on, so I began to like her much better towards the end. I guess there were just too many hard edges on her at the beginning of the book. I think is a good book for teens who are activists looking for a kindred spirit. They will certainly find much to admire and possibly emulate. I appreciate the author's experimentation using verse to help get to know Addie better, and as things changed for Addie she because a character I had much more sympathy for her. There are probably a lot of people who will feel really moved by Addie's story, I just wasn't one of them.

Galley provided by publisher for review.

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