Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 56
I am Here Now by Barbara Bottner
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Maisie is a young teenage girl growing up in the Bronx. The story takes place during the early 1960s. Maisie lives with her parents and her younger brother, Davy. However, Maisie's mom and dad have a very rough marriage. Her mom is very emotionally abusive to Maisie, and her dad abandons them. Maisie has no way to cope, except through her artistic abilities. At times, she is also able to confide in select people, including her neighbor Richie who has issues with his own family, her friend Rachel, and Rachel's artistic mom Kiki. Maisie's father seems caring at times, but he does not stay around long enough to prove that. In the midst of all the chaos, Maisie is beginning to notice boys, including Rachel's boyfriend, which causes tension between Maisie and Rachel.

I enjoyed reading this book, and the free verse style was interesting because it is rare that I have read a book in that form. There was great depth to the characters, and it was easy to see into their lives and feel what they experienced. Occasionally, the author makes references to people, songs, or events which will remind the reader that the story is set in the 60s. Also, being that Maisie's love for art and culture is prominent in the book, many art culture references of that time period are mentioned.

The author did a great job of showing the growth and progression of the characters and relationships, even when those relationships were toxic. The reality behind the character development was very strong. In the negative relationships, such as Maisie's relationship with her mother, there are quick breaks to the negative character, at times. Therefore, the reader is able to see that there is a real, emotional person behind all the cruelty and hatefulness. Yet, not every relationship problem is solved in the end, because in reality, that is not always how it works.

Despite the harsh reality of many situations in the story, there are silver linings that help pull the story together. I feel like the author did a great job of balancing fiction and real life. It is a very gripping story, and the free verse style makes it even more compelling.

Grammatically, I did not see anything wrong with the story. Overall, it was a great book. I would like to note, for those who may have issues with this, there is some language, especially early in the book, but nothing extremely severe. There are also a few sexual references and descriptions, but nothing too graphic. As far as an age group, I would definitely recommend the book for only older teens and adults.

This is a very riveting coming-of-age story, and I am rating it 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it, especially for those who love poetry, art, and culture. I hope many will get the chance to read this story.
Good Points
I read I Am Here Now by Barbara Bottner, a fascinating book written entirely in free verse. This book is fiction, but it tells a story with a very realistic setting.
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