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Chicken Girl by Heather Smith
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Social media has a way of ruining images of people and causing unnecessary chaos. Smith’s novel uses real life issues to help the reader explore themes of gender transitions, sexuality, and family caregivers. Poppy, the protagonist, learns that it is hard to remain optimist in life given some of life’s harsh circumstances. She also learns that life is bigger than self.
Poppy meets a six-year-old girl who opens her eyes to the world outside of herself. She wallows in self-pity after she experiences humiliation and pain, which causes her to change her outward appearance and start to lose herself. The young girl assists her with focusing on those around her. Once Poppy accepts this, she can see what others around her are experiencing, which makes her see that her life is not bad at all. Each story resonates with the reader because they are real stories that not just teens, but adults are faced with. After Poppy opens her eyes to see the challenges that those that are in her immediate vicinity are experiencing she learns a harsh lesson about life; it’s imperfect.
Chicken Girl shows the severity of social media and the Internet. It also allows teens to connect with the issues and characters that are present in the book. The book has real life issues that we have seen in Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter. The book is a true depiction of what our teens deal with on a daily basis in school, at homes, and as they sit and dwell into that couch and surf the internet. The narrator, Samantha Weinstein, does an amazing job captivating the listener with her pace and her voice inflection. She is very articulate and she draws the reader in from the beginning to the end. This piece allows teenagers to feel the emotions of the characters as they learn of the situations they deal with daily; with many being able to wholeheartedly relate to the characters.
–Kiera O. Vargas