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Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite
There is an aching fragility - an heart-rending honesty - in the poetic voice of an adolescent that has never been equaled or even approximated in the history of the written word. Through the exacting lens of a tween-ager or teenager’s perspective, the world is a complex series of mixed messages and suppressed longings that fly up off the page in a firestorm of heightened emotion that leaves the reader breathless and remembering with both nostalgia and dread when feelings bit like gadflies. RyAnn Hall’s A Book of Poetry for Teenagers not only captures the essence of one girl’s journey from a beaming eleven-year-old through to a darkly depressed and occasionally suicidal teenager to a blissfully fulfilled wife and mother as only she can do, but also sends several invaluable messages to teenagers everywhere - “You are NOT alone.” “You will find love.” You deserve to be here.” The list goes on and on, and every message is as vital and life-giving as the last.
A Book of Poetry for Teenagers by RyAnn Hall is a straight shot of brutal honesty right to the main vein for lovers of poetry; as a direct line to the core of the human experience. As might be expected of the writings of an eleven-year-old, the poems are not without errors in grammar, syntax, and punctuation - none of that matters in the least. They are time capsules, meant to be read as they were written by a young girl with epic growing pains. What a gift, for we who read them, to be reminded of our own days of doubt and pain on the way to adulthood, and what a gift for teenagers to have the chance to learn that they are never alone - that their fears are universal.
A Book of Poetry for Teenagers by RyAnn Hall is a book not to be missed. Apart from the fact that it could be (quite literally) a lifesaver for a troubled teen, it offers an essential window into the complex emotional world of the teenager searching for meaning and purpose. I could not put this book down.