What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillame

Published: 26th February 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Pan Australia
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE SUMMER OF THEIR LIVES?

This summer is probably not going to be that.

Source: Everything that’s happened since yesterday…

The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing this summer is entering a beauty pageant.  Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL for Christmas and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s shaky confidence. And her best friend starts going out with the boy she’s always loved.

But Maisie’s got something to prove.

As she writes down all the ways this summer is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back.

There has only been a handful of times that I’ve known I was giving a book five stars before I had even finished it and this is one of those times. I think I had decided in the first chapter that I loved this book. I love this book because it is simple, full of heart, full of growing up and friendships, not to mention that is felt real from page one through to the very end.

This story is the epitome of teen behaviour, teen angst, teen impulse and teen support. Guillaume has captured the voice so well that you felt like these characters were real life teenagers living their lives in front of you. Doing that and doing that well creates a story that is believable and has a powerful impact on how you interpret a story. When you have a good voice you’re able to be caught up in the events rather than cringing constantly by bad dialogue and Guillaume has excelled.

The family dynamics explored were wonderful in that they were complicated and not perfect. There is no perfect sister relationship and the fact that Maisie often feels like a side character in her own family was really interesting. I loved how the parent relationship is shown too; through a kid’s eyes there is always going to be a limited perspective and coupled with Guillaume’s choice of formatting it allows for a lot more personal interpretation and unease.  

The diary format allows Guillaume to mess with form and fill in details in a creative way and use a casual voice and casual language. It is also a great way to capture Maisie’s voice as she is the one telling the story. This means the events described are already edited by herself and with her own bias and naivety included which adds drama and tension. 

The romance element was absolutely adorable and I did guess it but only just in time and it was even better because it confirmed what I wanted to happen which honestly is the best result to get. It is incredibly sweet but there is another focus on friendship and traditions with friends too which was fantastic. The strange relationships you have with friends you see once a year but have been doing so for most of your life.

One of the reasons why I loved this book from start to finish was that it felt real, it always felt real and believable. It doesn’t try to live up to the United States kind of summer which goes for three months and the goal is always to have “the perfect summer experience”. This is a week over Christmas and New Year and it is exactly what I know and can relate to, going to a small coastal town for a holiday and seeing the same people you always see on that holiday but with a chance of meeting new people along the way.

It is fun, a delight to read, but it is filled with heart too that can hit your emotions all over the place. A favourite book from the first few pages and it stayed that way right until the end. 

You can purchase What I Like About Me via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository

DymocksFishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ally
    Oct 20, 2020 @ 19:03:15

    Oh wow! I’ve seen this book around but never knew what it was about. Love that it’s a fav of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Jess
    Oct 19, 2020 @ 09:35:43

    Ohh this sounds awesome and with such high praise I’m going to have to pick it up. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Like

    Reply

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