Forget Me Not
Calliope June is new in town, again. Her mother has been involved in a string of different relationships, and when they end, she and Calli move. Calli loves astronomy, and she has Tourette syndrome, which means she sometimes twitches or makes involuntary sounds. Her mother tells her to try to hide it so she can fit in, but it isn't long before the mean people at school are teasing her behind her back and to her face. Calli's neighbor, Jinsong, thinks Calli is pretty and interesting, but as the popular student president and athlete, he is torn between his responsibility to be inclusive to everyone, and the safety he feels when he blends in with the crowd.
This novel is told in verse from both Calli and Jin's perspectives.
Although the book is 326 pages long, it moves very quickly because many of the verses are short. The bullying of those who are different is somewhat standard fare here, as is Jinsong's conflict about whether to be a bystander or a stand-up person. Calli's conflict is more unusual, not just because she is trying to manage Tourette syndrome while new to a school, but because she is so lacking in parental support. Her mother is not a listener and neglects Calli, but this conflict gives readers a perspective about imperfect adults in their own lives and in the lives of peers. The writing is what gives this book its sparkle, and the fact that it is always good to root for someone who is trying her best.
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