Ramos, NoNieqa. Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, The. Fiction. Carolrhoda, 02/2018. 336pp. $17.99. 978-1-5124-3976-2. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 8-ADULT.
Macy’s mother always has a different boyfriend, her dad is in prison, her brother has been taken by CPS and placed in a foster home, and Macy herself is a tomboy labeled “disturbed,” and a “bad kid” at school amidst the chaos of her family life living in poverty—but at least she has her two best friends, Alma and Gary, who she cares deeply about. This book is Macy’s secret dictionary, and her voice is often written colloquially, adding levity to the difficult situations surrounding her, such as sex work and drug use. Macy’s love of music and writing offer a joyful counterpoint to the hardships in her life, which include her proclivity towards violent thoughts (and sometimes actions). Macy is described as brown-skinned, and one of her best friends is Latina. This book is recommended for any reader who enjoys realistic young adult fiction and is open to a heart-wrenching narrative with a slightly humorous tone. Jennifer Weisberg, San Francisco PL/Berkeley PL