Parents' Guide to

Dear Rachel Maddow

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Teen can't stop confessing to her hero in poignant story.

Dear Rachel Maddow Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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A teen girl pours her heart out to her celebrity hero, Rachel Maddow, in this poignant and funny story. Dear Rachel Maddow starts out a little slow but picks up as Brynn Harper's personality starts to shine through her hundreds of unsent emails. Brynn's voice is witty and engaging. Her creative swearing is entertaining but will likely turn off readers who don't like profanity. The best part of the story is following along with Brynn and seeing what she faces on a day-to-day basis. She often wants to give up but finds a way to keep battling on. She's the kind of kid easily overlooked at school because she isn't a superstar, plus she has serious trouble at home because her dad left and her mom married a verbally and physically abusive man. She also faces some bullying at school but handles it quite well. In fact, she is a good gay role model for kids in that she owns her sexuality and it isn't an issue for her at all. When Brynn dives into the school election, you can't help but root for her. Her reluctant hero attitude is endearing.

The main downside to the plot is that Brynn has so much stacked against her at one point that the story starts to tip into bleak and overwhelming territory. Most of the secondary characters are one-dimensional, especially her opponent, Adam. But Brynn is such a fun, cool character, she more than makes up for that deficit.

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