Official Review: Junior High Blues by Stefanie Soto

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Official Review: Junior High Blues by Stefanie Soto

Post by Juliana_Isabella » 05 Jul 2019, 22:18

[Following is an official review of "Junior High Blues" by Stefanie Soto.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Junior High Blues by Stefanie Soto is a collection of poetry written during the author’s high school years. She writes about first loves, her anger at her birth parents, and her friendships with other girls. She expresses the mixed emotions that many teenage girls feel when betrayed by friends and boyfriends. The poems vary in rhyme scheme, meter, and style, but they all relate to her life experiences.

I enjoyed that the author wrote about her emotions openly. She doesn’t sugarcoat her feelings, whether they be anger, love, or resentment. She addresses her birth parents, who she never knew, and calls them out for being absent from her life.

My main issue with this book is that it is clearly not professionally edited. The verbs are often conjugated wrong, and spelling is an issue. The author uses “isle” instead of “aisle” multiple times, and she rarely uses periods in her poetry. This makes it feel like the book is dragging on and that each poem is just one long sentence. It also keeps the poems from flowing, which is a major detractor for a collection of poetry.

The backgrounds of the pages present another issue in this book. First, they are generally simple silhouettes of everyday objects like flowers and diamonds, and they don’t add anything to most of the poems. They also seem to be overlaid rather than underlaid, so the text is a different color on the image than it is on the rest of the page. It’s occasionally difficult to read the text when it’s on a dark picture. I also noticed that the pictures aren’t centered on the page. This became distracting, and it’s a clear sign that the book isn’t professionally edited, since this would be simple to fix.

Overall, I would give this book 2 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed that the author was honest and had a strong voice, but the lack of professional editing clearly detracted from the book. I think that young girls who are around the same age the author was when she wrote this (14 to 16) might enjoy this book, but it does cover more mature themes like sex, so parents should probably preview the book first. I don’t think older readers would enjoy the book since they’ve probably progressed past most of the struggles and emotions presented by the author and can’t relate to her experiences anymore.

Junior High Blues
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Post by Mangata » 07 Jul 2019, 10:52

I appreciate the author's openness to her teenage time. It could be inspiring for girls who find themselves in this collection of poetry. I hope it will be improved the editorial section. Thank you for your honest review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 07 Jul 2019, 15:31

Poor editing can ruin a book. The themes sound like something we can all identify with, though. Hopefully the author can send this to a proofreader and make it that much better. Thanks.
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Post by Nisha Ward » 07 Jul 2019, 16:30

Teenagers tend to be more blunt in their creative endeavours, I've found. It's nice that the author is clear about this but the lack of professional editing is definitely a downside.
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 07 Jul 2019, 18:38

It sounds like a promising book and would be great for teens to read, but it clearly needs to go through another round of editing. Thank you for the honest review!

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Post by Michelle Fred » 08 Jul 2019, 08:39

I like that the author found a creative outlet at that time of her life and her openness makes the book more endearing. The lack of professional editing takes away from what would've been a good read.

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Post by esp1975 » 09 Jul 2019, 18:19

I wrote poetry in high school. I think I would be mortified to share it now, so kudos to the author for having the bravery to share her work. At the same time, it sounds like she should have taken at least one more pass at it, instead of sharing it exactly as she wrote it then.

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