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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
What do you name a daughter whose family name is Polis? Well, Anna, of course. Then she becomes AnnaPolis. It might be cute, but children bear the burden of the name they’re given at birth. And, when the name comes attached to a position of wealth and importance, there’s a lot to live up to. Anna’s parents are wealthy. She attends a prestigious private school and she has a good circle of friends. At least, she believes they’re good friends. But, upon entering middle school, and then high school, the pressure builds and tensions mount. The ‘good friends’ of childhood become the mean girls of middle and high school. And then there are the bullies. The ones, boys and girls, who take advantage of you.
Growing up is never easy. What happens in one’s youth affects the adult one becomes. Anna can bear witness to that fact. Not only is she scarred from her growing-up years, she is shocked to discover that the bullies and mean girls in her school have parents who continue to be just as bullying and mean as their offspring. But what Anna has to endure, though, haunts her into adulthood, yet it’s nothing to the disease that consumes her body and almost takes her life. There are chilling diseases in society: bullies and meanness. There are chilling diseases of the body. Anna suffers them all and they haunt her until, through her talent with the written word, she meets her ghosts head on and fights, taking back her life and making it her own.
Linda Heavner Gerald’s novel, AnnaPolis Summers, is a powerful, coming-of-age novel that addresses the issues young people struggle with over and over again. Using a journal type unveiling of the plot, the author becomes Anna and reveals her story as she sits back on a summer evening and relives her past through her own writing. Through this journey, Anna discovers the why’s that formed her and almost destroyed her and unravels another Anna, a survivor, a strong woman with a creative force that helps her overcome her struggles and fears. The reader is instantly attracted to this young woman as she tells her story, as her life is unveiled in heart-wrenching reality. A raw story to the core.