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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
My Smile Is My Mask: A Collection of Poems is a work of non-fiction exploring coming-of-age themes. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and was penned by Francesca De Geronimo. Within this collection, readers will find a series of poems reflecting themes of daily life and the pressure of feeling the need to mask one’s emotions and personality traits to ‘fit in’ with the world around you. Told in a narrative style that flows naturally from one standalone concept to the next, the poems are also accompanied by some gorgeous, abstract, and emotional artwork by illustrator Hong Diep Loi.
It is rare to find a poetry collection that can be psychologically deep enough to resonate with adult readers, but still reach the younger adolescent audience in an accessible way, and I’m pleased to say that author Francesca De Geronimo has achieved it very beautifully here. It is difficult to pick out a singular moment of poignance for me because what really impressed me was the overall impression of each poem together, and the sense of security, individuality, and emotional freedom that the work wishes to inspire in its younger readers. From anxiety and stress through to persecution and self-doubt, the poetry within these pages really conveys everything that young adults will likely encounter in their lives, and there’s a learning moment for everyone along the way. Coupled with the Dali-esque art of Hong Diep Loi, My Smile Is My Mask will undoubtedly become a treasured collection worthy of a spot on everyone’s bedside table.