Book Review: Still Here by Rowan Blanchard
Hollywood rising star and passionate humanitarian Rowan Blanchard shares her beloved personal scrapbook with the world.
Featuring art and writing from her favorite photographers, poets, and friends alongside her own journal entries and snapshots, STILL HERE is an unedited look at Rowan Blanchard’s inner life—and a poignant representation of teen life in general. Alongside Rowan’s own raw diary entries, poems, and personal photos are taped in letters, photos, and poems from her friends who inspire her, like the poet rupi kaur, photographer Gia Coppola, and writer Jenny Zhang, among others. The result is an intimate portrayal of modern girlhood and a thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a teenager in today’s world.
This is less of a review and more of a “hey, this book exists and you need it or know teenagers who need it.” Given that this is basically Blanchard’s diary, a “review” doesn’t feel totally right. But a shout-out about how honest, raw, powerful, and empowering this is? That does feel right.
I’m 40, but my teenage self is never far from my brain, especially given the YA lit world I live in. I kept a diary almost every day from 4th grade until I was in graduate school. I spent my teenage years obsessively reading and producing zines (for a real deep dive into Teen Amanda, check out that zines link). Opening up Blanchard’s book—part diary, part zine, part scrapbook—felt VERY familiar. I read it and thought, YES, this was me. This was all my friends. With one set of photographs, the words “I’m sore from all this growing” are written. What a totally accurate view of adolescence—heck, of personhood in general. Collected here are photographs, art, bits of writing that feel very random (the types of things you scrawl in a notebook in a moment of joy or confusion or heartache), longer form diary entries, poems, and so much more. My only complaint is that Blanchard includes the works of several people she admires/who inspire her, but you have to go to an index in the back to see who did each piece. I would’ve liked the attributions on the page, just to help me see more easily who wrote what/what Blanchard didn’t write.
Passionate, political, and unfiltered, this book is a great peek into the life of Blanchard and her friends. Many readers will not only relate, but find comfort in seeing others who scrawl their pain, joy, fear, and hope across the page.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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