How to be a Girl in the World

Featured
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
429 0
How to be a Girl in the World
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
August 11, 2020
ISBN
978-0062672704
Buy This Book
      
Lydia hasn’t felt comfortable in her own skin since the boys at her school started commenting on the way she looks in her uniform. Her cousin and friends think she should be flattered, but the boys—and sometimes her mom’s boyfriend, Jeremy—make Lydia uncomfortable and confused. Even more confusing is when Jeremy hovers too close and hugs a little too long.

Then her mom surprises her by buying a dilapidated house in their neighborhood. Lydia hopes to find a little bit of magic in their new home. But just like the adults in her life, and God, and her friends, the magic Lydia deeply believes in eventually loses its power to keep her safe.

And as seventh grade begins, Lydia wonders: Is there a secret to figuring out how to be a girl in the world?

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Timely Family Problems
(Updated: May 13, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Lydia lives in an apartment in New York with her mom and her cousin, Emma. Emma's mother, who was African-American, passed away and her father, who is white, is considered "unsafe", so Emma feels that this is just a temporary placement. Lydia's dad lives nearby and has visitation two days a week, and her mother has a boyfriend, Jeremy. When the mother buys a dilapidated house to fix up, she doesn't tell Jeremy about it. Lydia finds the house deliciously creepy, and does a lot of work on it to help her mother out, but Emma doesn't help because she claims she will never have to live there. The house is just a few blocks from the apartment, so the girls can continue on at their Catholic school. This, however, is a problem for Lydia. In 6th grade, the boys started calling her "Swing" because of the way her skirts moves over her legs, and have subjected her to pointed stares and unwanted comments. The teachers don't take any of her concerns seriously. Lydia also feels uncomfortable around Jeremy,who hugs a second too long, brings the girls candy they are supposed to keep secret from the mother, and generally makes Lydia feel creeped out. To deal with both of these issues, she has taken to wearing baggy sweatpants and shirts even though it is summer vacation. Once, when Emma and her mother go to visit Emma's father, Lydia is supposed to stay with Jeremy. Her father is too busy to watch her, so she calls Miriam, a former best friend with whom she has had a falling out. Miriam invites Lydia over for a sleep over, and the two slowly reconnect. While renovating the house, Lydia finds a "spell book" and empty toilet paper rolls in every room of the house. The writer of the book, Pan, details a number of spells, including one for protection, that involve flowers, scented oils, and wearing the toilet roll under ones clothing. Lydia is sure that this is working, but still panics from time to time. When a boy at school snaps her bra strap, Lydia snaps as well, screaming in the middle of class. She's sent to the principal's office and hopes that her complaints will finally be heard, but instead, the nun accuses Lydia of bringing the devil and magic into the school, because of the toilet paper rolls. Lydia gets in trouble at home, and this, along with support from Miriam and Emma, is finally enough to get her to tell her mother about what is going on at school and with Jeremy.
Good Points
Like Dee's Maybe He Just Likes You, this is realistically done. Lydia's experiences of being harassed, sharing limited information with adults, being rebuffed, and then spiraling into a very bad place make sense. Jeremy is creepy but doesn't actually step over any real lines until the end of the story, and Emma feels the same way. Once the mother finds out about both issues, she supports Lydia completely. Emma's father is in rehab for drugs, and her emotions about not wanting to become invested in the house ring true. The house itself is quirkily interesting, and the protective spells will certainly speak to readers who are Lydia's age.

I was a little surprised that the mother hadn't picked up on Lydia's plight earlier, since she later shares that she was accosted by a relative when young, and surprised that the school didn't take things more seriously. I also would have like a bit more information about the principal's family connection to Lydia's house.

Books like this are important to show them that they need to do this in order for things to change. Lydia's experiences will help readers understand how insidious harrassment can be, but also give them tools to help in case they ever experience it themselves. It's sad that these issues still exist, but they do. Even twenty years ago, I told my daughters that no one was allowed to make them feel uncomfortable and that I would support them if anyone did; this kind of empowerment needs to filter into every section of the population, and books like this can help that happen.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Goodnight, Little Llama
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Little Llama, who is about to make a very...
The Boy and the Sea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A picture book meditation on curiosity, wonder, and finding one’s...
In Your Cozy Bed
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
A soothing bedtime board book from the creators of In...
Chicks Rock!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rocker Chick overcomes stage fright to find her voice in...
The Beach (Bluey)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Read along and join Bluey's latest adventure! ...
All About Bluey
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Bluey! This lovable and imaginative Blue Heeler puppy is...
Instructions for Dancing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The critically...
Jonathan: Prince of Dreams
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Still recovering from the tragic loss of his mother, typical...
Missing the Beat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The dream job? Check. The best friends? Check....
Meeting the Star
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The spotless reputation? Check. The gorgeous movie star?...
Making the Play
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The school of her dreams? Check. The perfect...
Runaway : Immortals of Indriell
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
They claim her mother died a hero. They...
The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this sequel to The Kinder Poison—which People magazine...
Kneel
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This fearless debut novel explores racism, injustice, and self-expression...
The Tragedy of Dane Riley
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A teen confronts his feelings about his father’s death,...
Heartbreakers and Fakers
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of The Best Laid Plans comes...

Latest Member Reviews

Instructions for Dancing
 
5.0
"INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING is an engaging YA contemporary about romance, family, and coming of age. Evie stopped believing in love..."
The Tragedy of Dane Riley
 
4.3
"THE TRAGEDY OF DANE RILEY is a compelling YA contemporary read about family, grief, depression, and mental illness. Dane is..."
The Shadow War
 
3.3
"What worked: Intriguing mix of Sci-fi with historical set during WWII. There is a lot going on in this engaging..."
Kneel
 
5.0
"Russell and his friend Marion live in Louisiana, and hope to use their skills at football to work their way..."
A Season of Sinister Dreams
 
4.3
"A SEASON OF SINISTER DREAMS is an engaging YA fantasy that follows two young women, Evra and Annalise. Annalise lives..."
I Can See Clearly
 
3.3
"Luc Ponti comes from a strong Italian family, and his father (an NCAA point guard, Princeton grad, Special Forces and..."
Fire with Fire
 
4.7
"Dani Rivera may excel at every part of her dragon slaying training, but she would rather focus on being normal..."
Better Together
 
5.0
"BETTER TOGETHER is a delightful and charming YA contemporary read about sisterhood, family, and healing. Siri lives with her mother..."
Get a Clue: A Bookish Boyfriends #4
 
4.3
"In this fourth book set at Reginald R. Hero High, we meet Huck and Win, the brother of Curtis from..."
The Fault In Our Stars
 
5.0
"I had enjoyed this book to great extent. I loved the relationship connection between the two characters and how the..."
The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison, #2)
 
4.7
"THE CRUELEST MERCY is an intriguing second book in an enthralling YA fantasy series. After the rush and danger of..."
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
4.0
"What worked: This was a fun take on Crazy Rich Asians meets descendants of Empress Regent of China. Gemma..."