Dear Rachel Maddow

Dear Rachel Maddow

Brynn Haper's life has one steadying force--Rachel Maddow.She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project--and actually getting a response--Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick's death, about her passive mother and even worse ste...

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Title:Dear Rachel Maddow
Author:Adrienne Kisner
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Dear Rachel Maddow Reviews

  • Biz (Formerly Rachael)

    It’s the perfect blend of emotion, humor, diversity, and political references.

    tells the story of Brynn, a junior in High School. Brynn had a good life, but when her brother Nick died a year ago, her life started falling apart. Now she’s on the “Applied

    It’s the perfect blend of emotion, humor, diversity, and political references.

    tells the story of Brynn, a junior in High School. Brynn had a good life, but when her brother Nick died a year ago, her life started falling apart. Now she’s on the “Applied” track at school, her first girlfriend has broken up with her, she’s kicked off the school newspaper, and her abusive and manipulative parents are driving her up the wall. She’s looking forward to turning eighteen when she can finally move out of her house and possibly drop out of high school. After being assigned to write to her personal hero, Rachel Maddow, for an assignment, and after being overjoyed at receiving a reply, Rachel begins to keep a journal of letters to Rachel about her struggles in High School journalism and politics that she never sends.

    This book packs a

    of tough topics into under 300 pages, but

    . Not only that, but the characters and writing just blend together with the plot so well that I’m not convinced that the author didn’t

    . All the characters are all so flawed and three-dimensional, and that’s especially difficult to do when the book is told in journal format, so hats off to everyone who worked on this book.

    Brynn, the narrator, was my favorite character. She’s brash, unapologetic, funny, and just trying to get through life and maybe get a girlfriend along the way.

    She hides her depression and her trauma in her online journal while putting on a smiling face (or, at least, a righteously angry one) for the people around her.

    I really felt for Brynn throughout this entire book. The quote at the beginning of this review really does describe her, and even though she doesn’t realize it, she’s

    at persisting and pushing herself through life. Her character arc, and how her mental health progresses throughout the book are both so realistic and stunning. So many moments in this story made me tear up – I don’t know if it’s just because so much of it was relatable or what, but I know that depressed teens, teens who struggle in school, and teens who’ve had to deal with trauma will be able to see themselves in Brynn.

    And Brynn’s reluctance to get into school politics, but completely owning it once she enters, is so iconic. She is an underdog who represents the other underdogs in her school, chosen to represent them and take down the elite and selfish honors students. This book also doesn’t fall into the “popular kids are always evil” trope; Brynn gains more popularity as she goes on, especially with the “normal” people in her school (e.g. not the top 10% GPA ranking). I really rooted for her, and I know other readers will, too.

    Another favorite character of mine was Lacey. Lacey is a peer mentor for Brynn and the other students on the “Applied” track, and is Brynn’s best friend at school. She’s also in a wheelchair and uses a keyboard to speak, but I love the fact that this book emphasizes that a person’s disability isn’t the most important thing about them. There’s a hilarious quote from Lacey where she addresses people’s ableism, saying,

    The dry wit in this quote is the

    in the rest of the book, and that makes the voice of the novel refreshing and laugh-out-loud funny.

    Brynn’s romance with her love interest, Michaela, is so cute and funny. Though it’s a little insta-lovey in the beginning, the way it develops is so realistic and cute after the fact that I don’t mind it that much. Neither of them are perfect people, but Brynn’s tendency to blurt whatever she’s thinking around Michaela is so endearing and adorable.

    The plot of

    has a surprising amount of twists for a contemporary novel – I would compare it to a Shakespeare comedy, but more serious drama than just meaningless shenanigans.

    I thought that the email/journal format actually really worked well for this novel. I’m always hesitant to read books that are solely told through journaling, because they tend to lead to less character development for everyone but the narrator, and provide a limited scope on the novel itself, but this book was a defiance to those assumptions. The journal format here is the way it should be done everywhere – with humor, some chapters in other people’s lives, and personality.

    Another important message in this book is that high school isn’t everything. I don’t just mean socially – this book emphasizes that going to college, that being successful academically, isn’t the best thing for everyone.

    Just do what you care about and it’ll all work out.

    The transition from seriousness to humor is PERFECTLY DONE. Throughout the entire book. It’s incredible.

    I hope to god that this book gets a lot of hype when it comes out – it so deserves it. Not only is it diverse, but the plot, characters, and writing are so so incredibly high-tier. I would recommend this for any contemporary fans, and even non-fans, especially those with disabilities, those in the LGBT community, or those who are looking for a funny, refreshing, realistic book that will make you feel

    .

  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    I started reading Dear Rachel Maddow on 2/7/2019 and finished it on 2/11/2019 at 12:45AM. This book is an excellent read! I enjoyed the romance in this book. It’s fun to follow how Brynn pines over her ex Sarah and then being such a klutz when around the new girl she likes. Girl love is such a cute read, especially when it’s in the beginning stages. I like the letter format. It’s easy to read. There are a bit of swearing and the voice is very much like teens. I love Mr. Grimm’s advices. He’s a g

    I started reading Dear Rachel Maddow on 2/7/2019 and finished it on 2/11/2019 at 12:45AM. This book is an excellent read! I enjoyed the romance in this book. It’s fun to follow how Brynn pines over her ex Sarah and then being such a klutz when around the new girl she likes. Girl love is such a cute read, especially when it’s in the beginning stages. I like the letter format. It’s easy to read. There are a bit of swearing and the voice is very much like teens. I love Mr. Grimm’s advices. He’s a good man to have around. I like Lacey too as well as Justin. The humor is great in this book.

    This book is told in the first person point of view following Brynn Harper, 16 years old. She’s writing an email to Rachel Maddow, a news reporter for a school assignment because she’s a big fan of Rachel. This book is entirely organized in an email format. Each page is an email letter. Brynn sends the email to her English teacher, Mr. Grimm and he sends a reply. Brynn sends many emails to Rachel telling Rachel about herself but then she left those letters in draft instead of sending them out. From there, readers will learn about why she was an honor roll student who now a struggling student. Further along, when drama at school calls for a voice, readers will see how Brynn stands up to use her voice to represent those silent ones.

    Dear Rachel Maddow is very well written and a fast paced read! I like that this book focuses around school, especially an important topic like politics. I’m glad Brynn has a role model she looks up to and follow for positive influence. Despite her unstable home life, I like that the people Brynn surrounds herself with are good influencers. Even if her ex gives up on Brynn, I’m glad there is someone else. I like the things she learned from her brother, even though it’s a tough lesson. I like how Brynn stands up for those under-represented individuals. I’m glad TV is considered as a positive influence in this case. I find I couldn’t put down this book when reading it and I highly recommend everyone to read it too!

    Pro: fast paced, page turner, email, role model, influence, girl love, humor, high school politics

    Con: none

    I rate it 5 stars!

    ***Disclaimer: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

    xoxo,

    Jasmine at

    for more details

  • Stacee

    I am a huge fan of books in epistolary format and I loved the synopsis of this one.

    Brynn was a great MC. I enjoyed being in her head and reading her struggle was relatable. There’s a pretty big group of characters here, but only a few really stood out to me. And someone really needs to junk punch her mom and her stepdad for just not caring. At all.

    Plot wise, it took some time to settle in. I wasn’t instantly captivated, but as soon as Brynn started to get worked up and active, I was drawn in.

    I am a huge fan of books in epistolary format and I loved the synopsis of this one.

    Brynn was a great MC. I enjoyed being in her head and reading her struggle was relatable. There’s a pretty big group of characters here, but only a few really stood out to me. And someone really needs to junk punch her mom and her stepdad for just not caring. At all.

    Plot wise, it took some time to settle in. I wasn’t instantly captivated, but as soon as Brynn started to get worked up and active, I was drawn in. I loved how she had a group of people behind her and she didn’t even realize it. I imagine a lot of people feel that way and it was handled well.

    Overall, it was a quick and intriguing read. I loved the spin with the politics {something I would have never read or enjoyed until about 2 years ago} and I was rooting for Brynn. My only complaint is that I would have like just a bit more at the end, but I was mostly satisfied.

    **Huge thanks to Feiwel and Friends for providing the arc free of charge**

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    A close 3 1/2 stars. This book, following a young lesbian writing letters to known lesbian legend Rachel Maddow and while trying to win a school election for the Real Students, has a lot going for it. It missed the mark on a few aspects? But overall,

    A close 3 1/2 stars. This book, following a young lesbian writing letters to known lesbian legend Rachel Maddow and while trying to win a school election for the Real Students, has a lot going for it. It missed the mark on a few aspects? But overall, this was really good.

    →So first of all, this book is fast-paced, and the voice is super super strong, and the book is genuinely funny in places despite being really dark. Brynn’s voice… genuinely reads like that of a high schooler, albeit a younger one.

    , who is flawed and dimensional and compelling and easy to root for. Brynn is going through awful things at home, and with family, and has not become sad: she has become righteously angry. That is something I did when I was younger and I don’t think I’ve seen it represented so accurately in a book before. Brynn is like freshman year me and I love it. The discussion of depression, and of her home life is subtle, intertwining throughout the book, but gets darker and darker.

    →Young Adult literature has a tendency to forget about side characters! This book did not forget about side characters! Lacey, who uses a wheelchair and a keyboard to speak, is one of the book’s funniest and best-developed characters. Michaela, Brynn’s secondary love interest, was a great character as well: I absolutely love her development. Justin! Leigh! Erin!

    →This book is a fucking

    against

    Brynn is! a journalist! And as she attempts to challenge a policy only allowing honors students to vote, the book ends up strongly discussing voting rights: how a literacy test of any kind is an unfair limitation. (This probably would've worked better if more characters were people of color; only Michaela is.) There's an excellent discussion here of how ableism affects the general school's perception of people like Brynn and Lacey's intelligence.

    →At times I did think the dialogue writing was… messy. Most of the writing is voicey and snappy and fun, but the dialogue just didn’t do it for me.

    →There’s a bit where one character sort of cheats on her girlfriend, and… allows herself to be kissed by her ex, and I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be nonconsensual, but it bugged me that it was never discussed. Its inclusion felt really pointless.

    →I really like epistolatory novels. However, I also think making epistolatory format hold a book on its own is really difficult. Brynn’s letters, understandably, are a projection of who she is, not a full confession. As a result,

    often struggles with its more emotional moments because Brynn buries her own tragedy in humor. I think this is an understandable and solid character decision; it’s just that the format is so distancing we don’t really see her catharsis.

    →And the other problem is that… she doesn’t

    catharsis. I’ve been pouring through the reviews trying to figure out why this didn’t

    work for me, and I just have to quote

    :

    Brynn’s character arc is so good, so good, so good, until the end of the book when it completely drops the ball on her

    her parents. As someone who has had a very complicated home life, I desperately needed her to confront her mom and take even one step herself towards recovery. Without that, this book reads a little bit like

    Perhaps it’s a statement of goodness that despite all that, I was a fan of this book. The story is clear and there are a lot of creative things being done here. And not to make this weird, but does Rachel Maddow know this book is being published? Is she proud?

    TW: minor suicidal ideation; challenged homophobia, a

    of discussions of challenged ableism, severe child abuse, drug overdose, and family death. (None of these are spoilers.)

    8 Sep 2018

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  • Jasmine

    If you're interested, you could check out the exclusive excerpt, which is an ADORABLENESS OVERLOAD for me, and an ARC giveaway for my friends in the U.S.

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