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Reviewed by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite
You Won’t Know Her Name by Shanti Hershenson tells a chilling story about an unnamed girl’s experiences with middle school bullying. Told in a unique style of poetry, The Girl begins a new middle school as an innocent eleven-year-old. Eager to fit in, she and her sister befriend the first group of students willing to accept them into their friendship circle. Among those new friends is The Person, the unnamed friend who quickly shifts into the role of bully. It begins with hurtful words and name-calling, but the bullying soon accelerates to the point that The Girl is afraid of going to school. When The Girl gets an opportunity to perform a poetry reading in front of the whole school, she must find a way to face her fears of performing as well as her fears of The Person.
You Won’t Know Her Name is a quick read filled with easy-to-read lines of haunting poetry. The topics are not appropriate for sensitive readers, but they accurately represent what some students must deal with even when they are still children. The way that Shanti Hershenson, who is still a young teenager at the time of publication, portrays verbal and physical abuse within the poetry indicates that this is likely based on real experiences. The perfect execution of such sensitive topics in a poetic manner is admirable, and the fact that the author is so young and can so eloquently address such issues is even more deserving of praise. I look forward to reading more from this young author who has such amazing potential.