Review Blog

May 22 2018

The disturbed girl's dictionary by Nonieqa Ramos

cover image

Lerner Publishing Group, 2018. ISBN 9781512439762
(Age: 14+) Recommended.
Macy Cashmere is a teenager living in the ghetto trying to survive life the best she can. Her father is in prison, her mother entertains a constant stream of male 'guests' and her little brother has been taken away by Child Protection Services. She battles constant hunger, poverty and the need for her family to be together again like it was before her father went to prison.
At school she has only two friends (Alma and George) who she is fiercely protective of and is constantly in trouble for not conforming and thus considered a 'disturbed' student. Despite this, school is really her constant in life. Her way of keeping track of her life is by her entries in her dictionary which is not really a diary as we know it but more of a memory keeper.
Macy's only true constant in her life and the one she holds onto dearly is her friendship with Alma. Alma is a shining star, kind to her peers, a good student and a loving sister to her young siblings. When Alma starts to drift away, Macy tries to find out why she isn't talking to her and what has happened in Alma's life to make her drift away from the friendship.
This story is raw, full of language and themes not suited to a younger audience. It is exactly how you would imagine life in the ghetto to be and the daily struggles of those who live there and those who try to help those who live there. Don't expect happy endings but rather an insight into who Macy is, why she does what she does and how she copes with the actions of those who mean something to her.
Themes in this book are: poverty, neglect, hardship, friendship and sexual promiscuity. I would recommend this book to students 14+.
Gerri Mills

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