Book Review: Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls edited by Betsy Franco

In this compilation of poems by teenage girls, ages 12-18, you’ll be given a glimpse into the inner-workings of female adolescence and the struggles faced by each contributor.  Though they are teenagers, their writings are well-written, and, as you may expect, wrought with feeling.  From teenage angst, addiction, loss, budding sexuality and aggression, these poems offer an uncharacteristically raw representation of growing up in a modern world.

The black and white photographs by Nina Nickels depict teenage girls from all walks of life, effectively representing the many voices in the book and offering the reader a striking visual connection to the girls’ words.  Many of the poems are written in free-verse or a loosely structured scheme, but this only bolsters the tone of unconventionality.

Both experienced and inexperienced readers of poetry, as well as any looking for a moving work of writing, will be able to appreciate the honesty and creativity with which these girls express themselves. I highly recommend this book to all.

“…the images of a multicultural array of “everygirls” are harmonious complements to this outstanding collection.” (School Library Journal/May 2001)

“…teens will listen and see themselves.” (Booklist/May 2001)

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