BOOK REVIEWS

Forget Me Not Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-22 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:1250096278
LANGUAGE:English

"Callie has a lot on her plate. She struggles with Tourette syndrome, something she feels she can tell no one about as that is what her doctor advised. Meanwhile, she is starting at her 10th new school, this time in St. George, Utah. Her mother has a habit of dating a guy and then, when it doesn't work out, packing up and driving until she finally settles wherever strikes her fancy. Rinse and repeat.

When not helping his mother & grandfather, Jinsong enjoys playing baseball with his friends, Duncan & Nyle. Unfortunately, the three of them are competing against one another for the one spot on The Royals, a local Little League baseball team. Jinsong is also student body president at his school and takes his role very seriously.

When Callie moves into the same apartment complex as Jinsong they both want to get to know each other but when Callie's tics make her a target for bullying Jinsong is torn between staying true to who he is and standing up for her or going with the flow and remaining popular.

This was a perfect middle school read. Told in alternating voices, this novel is a perfect one-sitting read. Many themes addressed including bullying, friendship, first crushes, difficult family situations, and what it means to be a middle schooler. This is also a clean read. No language that I remember, no sex, drugs, etc. I would say a mature sixth grader could read this but, if I were to booktalk it, I would wait for seventh because it addresses things like first love, a mother who is a serial dater, etc.
" said.

"

"Calliope, did you do this?"

I find my voice. "Yeah."

"That's a poppy," she says.


"It was dying," I say.

We stare at each other.

"Okay, but these" --
she swirls her hands over the vase --
"are roses."

I blink. "Yeah...?"

"Well, poppies don't belong with roses."

"Oh." I frown. "Sorry."
(59).


And with that brief (abridged) one-page poem, the entirety of the book is perfectly encapsulated. Seventh-grader Calliope June struggles with how to deal with her Tourette Syndrome, anxiety, and some other accompanying health issues while living with a single mother who is constantly searching for a new man and a new place to live.

Calli's story is told in beautifully structured verse, and is contrasted with the quick, light prose of an alternating viewpoint, her friendly neighbor, Jinsong. During Calli's struggle to fit in at her new school, Jinsong must simultaneously discover if his friendly persona is just an act, and whether or not he will risk his popularity status to spend time with the new "Freak Girl."

This delightful novel is filled to the brim with insights on mental health, fitting in despite having obvious differences, and it even diligently tackles an exceedingly honest conflict -- being friends with somebody with obvious differences can be socially damning in school and, unfortunately, in all aspects of life: how do you cope with the cognitive dissonance of wanting to be friendly when there is a constant, crippling fear of being condemned for it?

Though Calliope is in seventh grade, her and Jinsong's struggles are universal. Forget Me Not is accessible enough for anyone to enjoy, and smart enough that everyone could learn a few things from its practical lessons." said.

"First sentence: I open my dresser drawers, find them empty, empty, empty.

Premise/plot: Calliope June is the young heroine in Ellie Terry's Forget Me Not. This middle grade novel actually has two narrators. Calli's narrates in verse while Jinsong narrates in prose. Here's what you need to know about Calli: a) she HATES moving; b) she HATES having to introduce herself to her classmates; c) she struggles to make friends; d) she wishes her mom would grow up; e) she has Tourette syndrome. Here's what you need to know about Jinsong: a) he LOVES baseball b) he's popular; c) he like-likes Calli; d) he's afraid to be friends with her in public; e) he cares too much about what others think of him; f) he's self-aware enough to know he's being a big jerk and a coward.

My thoughts: I found this to be a quick, compelling read. I enjoyed the characterization. Readers really only get to know Jinsong and Calli, but, these two are well developed in my opinion. The relationship that tortured me the most was between Calli and her mom. I really wanted Calli's mom to grow up and get the help she needed. I hated that Calli's life was being turned upside down every few months because of her mom's love life. The ending leaves me worried. I think Calli has matured a great deal, but, her mom is still a big, big mess.

Does this one "need" to be a verse novel? I'm not sure it does. The verse isn't spectacular poetry. Calli could have told her story in prose just as well. I am glad Calli's story got told. I like her as a narrator. And being in verse does make it go quicker because there are fewer words.

Do we "need" Jinsong's narration? I'm not sure we do. But I am conflicted on this. His narrative does allow readers to see Calli from a different perspective, an outside perspective. We see most of the bullying from his perspective. He's a mostly silent bystander. He does some much-needed growing up in this one.
" said.

"Forget Me Not is a heartbreaking tale of a girl with Tourette's syndrome and the boy next door. I absolutely love the formatting of this book. Callie hides her Tourette's after an ill-given doctor told her mother and Callie to not publicize her disorder. Callie also struggles with accompany illnesses with her Tourette's, mainly unconscious hairpulling and OCD. When her mother packs up their meager belongings to move after a failed relationship, Callie worries again how she is going to hide her illness from her schoolmates. At their new apartment, Callie meets Jinsong, her new classmate and the student body president. Thus begins their hopscotch relationship into friendship and understanding.

I love the formatting of this book! Callie is told in verse, and each word is carefully placed to reflect the inner pain and frustrations she has. I loved the ending, when she finally tells someone her illness. Callie's mother, my gods, I cannot stand her. I will never understand a parent that: A) forces a child to hide a part of themselves just because things might be difficult down the road and B) Prioritizes the idea that having 2 incomes will be better than one. Callie is shown to be smart, and she wants to be an astronaut and travel to the moon. I felt distraught that her mother didn't include Callie in any discussions about her future. I felt sadden for her, especially after she finally began to find a close friend with Jinsong.

I liked Jinsong OK. I felt that yes, he wanted to hide his true feelings for Callie because he didn't want to be ostracized by his peers, but also that I was glad that not everything worked for him because he gained a new appreciation for Callie. The emails at the end were fantastic. If anything, I wished we could have gotten more time with them being friends but I fully understand why the author wanted their friendship to be short and bittersweet.

Man, I loved Callie's last chapters, and the whole story felt amazing. I cannot wait to read more by Ellie Terry, Like, can she put something out now?
" said.

" I was blown away. The writing is beautiful. The story itself even more beautiful. Terry is a new voice in middle grade that must not be missed. " said.

"
I received a free ARC of this lovely 2017 book. FORGET ME NOT is a lyrical novel that takes its place in the growing shelf of middle grade novels in verse. Told in two voices, the poems incorporate a rhythm that mimics the tics and OCD of the main character's disability, Tourette's Syndrome. Despite the inclusion of Calliope June's disability, I like that Tourette's isn't Calliope's biggest and only problem. The variety of poems— concrete poems, sound poems, list poems—lead us through her experience of parental neglect, making friends and losing friends.

Forget Me Not is a disability positive book about not being able to pass for "normal" and coming to terms with it. It's about finding your voice. The relationship people with disabilities have with doctors, the "professionals," is complicated. Calliope is lucky she received a diagnosis from her doctor and feels relief that she knows the reason for her tics. All the adults I have personally known with Tourette's Syndrome spent years wondering what was "wrong" with them and only found out later in life. On the other hand, Calliope June realizes the oppression her doctor is perpetuating and finally rebels against his advice to keep her Tourette's a secret.
So glad this book will be available to everyone in 2017!
" said.

"Ehhh, this one just didn't do anything for me. I don't know, guys--there's something that really bothers me about a book with the title, "Forget Me Not," that features flowers prominently in the plot...except those flowers are poppies.

Also, while I love books in verse, I don't think it was a great choice for this story. There just wasn't enough substance to flesh out any of the characters. I felt like I still didn't really know Calliope at all by the end of the story. (Note, I had to look up her name to write this review because I couldn't remember it.) It's difficult to care about what's happening to these people when you don't know them.

Finally, can we talk about Calliope's mom? What the heck, lady? That woman has no business raising a child, and some of her behavior (or lack thereof) was completely neglectful and borderline abusive. I was hoping that at the end of the book, when the mom comes back to town with the stranger she's just married, that Calliope was going to be like, "Yeah, you know what? You're horrible. I'm reporting you to CPS and going to live with Jinsong's family. Bye now." But nope. Calli is like, "I'll just try better to understand you, mom," which is admirable, but she shouldn't have to be hitched to that wagon anymore. That girl needs a normal adult human in her life.
" said.

" Why aren't more of my middle-grade lit fans on goodreads talking about this book? It's excellent. This will be a much-loved book in my classroom b/c although, not everyone will know what it is like to have Tourette's or move around a lot, many will be able to identify with being self-conscious, wanting to have friends and not wanting to feel dorky. This was a great coming-of-age story. Loved it! " said.

June 2018 New Book:

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