This beautiful and timely novel in verse follows Sadie, a Black, queer poet with anxiety who is interested in community organizing and social justice. After a harrowing incident of police brutality in her neighborhood, her anxiety starts taking over her brain. Sadie has to balance all of her emotions, a new mental health diagnosis, romantic entanglements, and just being a Black teen girl in a world that doesn’t feel very safe. Poetry, therapy, social media, and relationships are all part of her journey.
One aspect of this book I found to be very relatable was Sadie’s relationships with her friends and family. Evan, her BFF and fellow community organizer, is an integral part of Sadie’s experience. Sadie’s younger brother is passionate about cooking and trying his best to help and understand Sadie’s chronic anxiety, even when he feels negatively affected by it. Her parents are not perfect, but they are present and loving. The boy next door? Well…you’ll just have to see.
In short, I loved it. It's beautifully written with deep feeling. I felt so connected to Sadie and was emotionally invested in her journey. It was well-balanced and felt very authentic. You can sense the author’s personal investment in this story. Along with some notes on their research and some resources, they included a playlist to accompany Sadie’s story!
This book addressed anxiety, queerness, and police brutality thoughtfully without ever seeming heavy-handed. If you are interested in books about mental health, social justice, or simply love amazing poetry, this is a book for you. It also won the Schneider Family Book Award, which honors books that "embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for children or adolescents". Highly recommended.