Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Friday, November 15, 2013

Plot Summary:
In this brilliant collection of poems, Rosenberg and November have provided teen readers with a collection of poetry to navigate the storm known as adolescence. Most of these poems deal with the stark reality of depression, anger, and even the sheer power of joy and healing. With that said, the poems are grouped into categories that are assigned by emotion ranging from living in this crazy world, to feeling alone, and to celebrating the beauty within us. All of these poems are succinct in their message and provide readers with stories they can relate to or learn from. The best part of this collection is that the editors include both classic and contemporary poetry, which conveys to readers that poetry is timeless; no matter what year it is, these feelings and words are very relevant to not only our state of mind, but help us with the harshness of life. Although some of the poems are rather complex, readers will get the idea just by the tone and a re-reading. In fact, these poems can be used in the classroom where students can work in groups and breakdown the message that is being conveyed. Lastly, this book is also great for the adult who is looking for reflection because sometimes we forget what's it's like to be young and somewhat out of control of our feelings and lives. 

Critical Evaluation:
As an adult, I have never appreciated poetry more than after reading this book. I actually remember hating poetry because I spent my entire senior year of high school analyzing poetry for my AP English class. However, despite the drilling, I learned a lot about poetry besides the mechanics and that is why I like this collection of poetry. Although this collection might not appeal to everyone, I highly encourage everyone to pick it up, especially if they are having a bad day. Granted, most of the poems are about the darker side of life (loss, sadness, and craziness), there is a great amount of comfort to be found simply because we know we are not alone. The poem that I feel in love with (immediately) is the poem by Lewis Carrol called "You are Old. Father William." This poem is hysterical because here is a young person judging an elder on their appearance and mannerisms. However, contrary to what the speaker says, this old man isn't nuts because not only is he nimble, but he is alert and his whit is on target. In the end, readers learn that age is just a number and that our characters reflect what's really inside (i.e., the young person acts like an an old fuddy duddy while Father William is spry and exciting). There is a lot to be read here and I hope readers will enjoy it the way I did.   

Information about the Editors:
Liz Rosenberg (from Amazon.com):
Liz Rosenberg is the author of 4 novels, 5 books of poems and more than 20 award winning books for children. She has edited five prize winning poetry anthologies (including THE INVISIBLE LADDER and LIGHT GATHERING POEMS) and her picture book, THE CAROUSEL was featured on PBS' Reading Rainbow. Her newest picture book, TYRANNOSAURUS DAD, illustrated by brilliant newcomer Matthew Myers, is a Children's Book of the Month Club bestseller, has garnered praise from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal and elsewhere, and was an Amazon top 10 children's book.
Deena November (from Hyacinth Girl Press):
Deena November graduated SUNY Binghamton in 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing, Poetry and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Carlow University. In 2005, she co-edited the anthology I JUST HOPE IT'S LETHAL: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy for Houghton Mifflin. Her poems have also appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Shaking Like a Mountain, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, Voices in the Attic, and Keyhole Magazine. She has taught Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops at Seton Hill University. Currently, she teaches at Carlow University and Robert Morris University in the English, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies departments. She co-created Girls with Glasses Reading Series, Workshops, and Literary Journal. Deena lives in Pittsburgh with her daughter, dog, and husband. - See more at: http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/yeartwo/dickwad.html#sthash.XPiouWuw.dpuf
Deena November graduated SUNY Binghamton in 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing, Poetry and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Carlow University. In 2005, she co-edited the anthology I JUST HOPE IT'S LETHAL: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy for Houghton Mifflin. Her poems have also appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Shaking Like a Mountain, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, Voices in the Attic, and Keyhole Magazine. She has taught Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops at Seton Hill University. Currently, she teaches at Carlow University and Robert Morris University in the English, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies departments. She co-created Girls with Glasses Reading Series, Workshops, and Literary Journal. Deena lives in Pittsburgh with her daughter, dog, and husband. - See more at: http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/yeartwo/dickwad.html#sthash.XPiouWuw.dpuf
Deena November graduated SUNY Binghamton in 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing, Poetry and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Carlow University. In 2005, she co-edited the anthology I JUST HOPE IT'S LETHAL: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy for Houghton Mifflin. Her poems have also appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Shaking Like a Mountain, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, Voices in the Attic, and Keyhole Magazine. She has taught Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops at Seton Hill University. Currently, she teaches at Carlow University and Robert Morris University in the English, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies departments. She co-created Girls with Glasses Reading Series, Workshops, and Literary Journal. Deena lives in Pittsburgh with her daughter, dog, and husband. - See more at: http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/yeartwo/dickwad.html#sthash.XPiouWuw.dpuf
Deena November graduated SUNY Binghamton in 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing, Poetry and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Carlow University. In 2005, she co-edited the anthology I JUST HOPE IT'S LETHAL: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy for Houghton Mifflin. Her poems have also appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Shaking Like a Mountain, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, Voices in the Attic, and Keyhole Magazine. She has taught Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops at Seton Hill University. Currently, she teaches at Carlow University and Robert Morris University in the English, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies departments. She co-created Girls with Glasses Reading Series, Workshops, and Literary Journal. Deena lives in Pittsburgh with her daughter, dog, and husband. - See more at: http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/yeartwo/dickwad.html#sthash.XPiouWuw.dpuf
Deena November graduated SUNY Binghamton in 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing, Poetry and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Carlow University. In 2005, she co-edited the anthology I JUST HOPE IT'S LETHAL: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy for Houghton Mifflin. Her poems have also appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Shaking Like a Mountain, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, Voices in the Attic, and Keyhole Magazine. She has taught Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops at Seton Hill University. Currently, she teaches at Carlow University and Robert Morris University in the English, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies departments. She co-created Girls with Glasses Reading Series, Workshops, and Literary Journal. Deena lives in Pittsburgh with her daughter, dog, and husband.
Deena November graduated SUNY Binghamton in 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing, Poetry and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Carlow University. In 2005, she co-edited the anthology I JUST HOPE IT'S LETHAL: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy for Houghton Mifflin. Her poems have also appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Shaking Like a Mountain, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, Voices in the Attic, and Keyhole Magazine. She has taught Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops at Seton Hill University. Currently, she teaches at Carlow University and Robert Morris University in the English, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies departments. She co-created Girls with Glasses Reading Series, Workshops, and Literary Journal. Deena lives in Pittsburgh with her daughter, dog, and husband. - See more at: http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/yeartwo/dickwad.html#sthash.XPiouWuw.dpuf
Genre:
Teen Poetry, Teen Contemporary Fiction

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to I Just Hope It's Lethal:

Awards & Recognition:
From Amazon.com:

"Includes poems of great intensity . . . alongside verses with humor-tinged darkness." —Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly

"The wide range of styles, from poets both famous and lesser known, from various time periods, also adds interest. . . . Good biographical notes and indices of authors, titles, and first lines conclude the volume." —Horn Book Horn Book

"[A] deeply affecting, and sophisticated collection, which will resonate with young people in all states of mental equilibrium." —Booklist Booklist, ALA

"Powerfully written and easy to understand. . . . This efficiently organized, concise, and interesting collection is an excellent choice for libraries serving teens." --School Library Journal School Library Journal

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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