Hate to admit it, folks, but it’s been a pretty slow reading year. Not many books have caught my attention or if they, I’ve felt relatively let down by it. When I agreed to be a part of the blog tour for CHICKEN GIRL by Heather Smith back in November, I knew that this was just one of those books that was going to be up my alley. And from the very first page, Poppy and her new friends stole my heart.
The 411: Poppy used to be an optimist. But after a photo of her dressed as Rosie the Riveter is mocked online, she’s having trouble seeing the good in the world. As a result, Poppy trades her beloved vintage clothes for a feathered chicken costume and accepts a job as an anonymous sign waver outside a restaurant. There, Poppy meets six-year-old girl Miracle, who helps Poppy see beyond her own pain, opening her eyes to the people around her: Cam, her twin brother, who is adjusting to life as an openly gay teen; Buck, a charming photographer with a cute British accent and a not-so-cute mean-streak; and Lewis a teen caring for an ailing parent, while struggling to reach the final stages of his gender transition. As the summer unfolds, Poppy stops glorifying the past and starts focusing on the present. But just as she comes to terms with the fact that there is good and bad in everyone, she is tested by a deep betrayal.
My Rambles: There is so much wonderful representation in this book that it’s hard to even cover it all. And Poppy is a heroine all teen girls (all females, really) need to read about at least once in their life. I especially connected with Poppy’s body issues and insecurities. Another character I appreciated was Cam, who used to be a jocky-sports guy before coming out and now has become a more flamboyant version of himself. Poppy feels this isn’t who Cam truly is and wants him to be himself. His jocky self. A complete 180 from the stories we usually get about gay males. When Poppy first talks to Lewis and finds out about his gender transition, she’s isn’t eloquent. She says the wrong thing. And Lewis understandably calls her out and helps her understand. The interaction is refreshing and doesn’t point fingers and they both learn from the situation. This is something our world is in desperate need of today. CHICKEN GIRL is a short book, only a little over 200 pages and surprisingly isn’t one that I just flew through. For the best reason. You know those times when you’re watching a movie or tv show and you’re cringing because it’s just that relatable? This was me the entire time reading this book. Poppy feels like a real person whose life you are watching on camera. It almost feels intrusive how much I related to this character.
MY RATING: ✰✰✰.5
Thank you Penguin Teen Canada for including me on this tour and for providing my galley.