Friday, May 6, 2016

ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE by Christine Heppermann - Review and Giveaway

by Christine Heppermann
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Published by Greenwillow Books
Pages: 240
Source: Irish Banana Tours; Publisher


Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.

My Thoughts

I've mentioned it many times how I love reading novels in verse. The sparse storytelling makes every word that more significant. Last year, I read and enjoyed Hepperman's Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, Me Pretty and when I learned that ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE was by the same author and a novel written in verse, I knew that it was a book that I wanted to read.

ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE is multi-layered and deep. It's smart and emotional. I'll admit that I've read this book a couple of times (twice in the same day actually) and I'm still trying to gather my thoughts about it. 

What I liked:

  • How there are Addie's journal entries interspersed throughout the poems
  • Her openness with her parents and their response to her pregnancy and her decision to have an abortion.
  • The support that she receives from her boyfriend, Nick. He's in this with her just as much as she will allow. It's obvious that he cares about her even when she begins to separate herself from him.
  • Addie isn't shamed for her decision. It was the right thing for her to do.
  • The humor in the ridiculous song titles of Nick's band
  • How well Addie's emotions are expressed and how she questions all that she thinks she knows. I appreciate her uncertainity and her vulnerability.
  • The cover - it stands out and if saw it on the shelf at the bookstore, I would immediately pick it up to find out what the book is about.

One of the poems that made a lasting impression is Not Just the Dirty Parts (page 55):
I made Nick promise
not to tell anyone else
when people look at me
I want them to see
all of me

Addie doesn't want to be seen only as the girl who was pregnant, the girl who had an abortion. It wasn't shame that made her feel this way, but she knew that is all she would be known for if her classmates found out. This idea is again expressed later in the book with the poem Reduced to a Womb (page 165) - where Addie considers what Mary would have been like, what she dreamed to do, but those things aren't known because all she is known as is the Virgin mother.

ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE isn't a story about judgment and the need for redemption. It's not a story about guilt and the need for forgiveness. It's a story about a girl who made the decision to have an abortion and how things changed afterward. I'm glad that I read this book and got to know Addie's story. I'm sure that I will read it a few more times and I look forward to reading more books by Christine Heppermann.

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC for this blog tour from publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Quotes were taken from the Advanced Review Copy and may differ from the final published version. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Christine Heppermann writes fiction, poetry, and criticism. Her books include Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (2014), City Chickens (2012), and Backyard Witch (with Ron Koertge, 2015). She currently reviews young adult books for the Chicago Tribune.

Christine grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where she attended an all-girls Catholic high school. As an undergraduate she studied philosophy and literature at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She has a masters degree in children’s literature from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Christine lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her two daughters, two cats, and one husband.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

3 Finished Copies of ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE (US Only)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you liked this book—I had similar thoughts while I was reading this book too! I also really liked the part in Not Just the Dirty Parts. Lovely review!


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