Title: What I Like About Me
Author: Jenna Guillaume
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 22nd – 25th July 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: We couldn’t wait until we were both old enough.
HERE LIES MAISIE MARTIN, DEAD FROM EMBARRASSMENT, AGED SIXTEEN.
The last thing Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing this summer is entering a beauty pageant.
Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone.
Not when her dad is AWOL for Christmas and her best friend starts going out with the boy she’s always loved.
But Maisie’s got something to prove. And she’s not going to let anything or anyone – including herself – hold her back.
I got this book in a book box from YA Chronicles. I had no idea what to expect. I’d never read anything from Jenna Guillaume. And I’m only just getting into contemporary young adult stories. But I absolutely loved it! This story is a bit like the movie Dumplin’ (I haven’t read the book yet), but with a more Australian and satirical spin. Which of course is why I loved it so much…. A sassy Australian novel about coming of age and loving yourself for who you are. Or at least finding a way to like yourself…
As a child, I was lucky to be slender, I won some good genetics. So I honestly don’t understand what it’s like to be a bigger girl. But. I do understand what it’s like not to like my own body. Not to feel 100% comfortable in it and not sure that I like what I see. This novel touches on that issue beautifully. I think it’s something that every woman goes through at some point. A desire to be more “something” something that our friends, family, celebrities are and we’re just not. And although everyone purports self-love, it really does start with self-care – learning to like oneself, before you decide to love yourself.
Being a teenager is incredibly awkward. There is nothing about it that is easy and simple. And, as an adult, I look back on some moments with humour and a bit of wistfulness. But, as a teenager? I thought that everything embarrassing or silly was just the end of the world. That I was always going to be an ungainly, awkward girl-child with no sense of identity and self. Which meant that reading this story of someone going through the exact same thing made me laugh quite a bit. Alright, there were some moments that were way more embarrassing than anything I’d been through, but there were others that I could relate to FAR too well.
The only thing that I didn’t love about this book is the fact that I read it in winter. This is a fantastic beach read, summer story. But, I seem to have picked it up in some incredibly horrible weather. Weather that had me curling up inside on the couch, longing for the beach and beauty that Maisie is surrounding herself and her teenage dramas with.
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