I had seen this one around on YouTube. When I was browsing though novels-in-verse at the library I found it and thought I'd give it a try.
Anke's father is abusive to her brother and sister. But not to her. Because, to him, she is like furniture— not even worthy of the worst kind of attention. Then Anke makes the school volleyball team. She loves feeling her muscles after workouts, an ache that reminds her she is real. Even more, Anke loves the confidence that she gets from the sport. And as she learns to call for the ball on the court, she finds a voice she never knew she had. For the first time, Anke is making herself seen and heard, working toward the day she will be able to speak up loud enough to rescue everyone at home— including herself.
I don't know if I could say enough good things about this book if I tried. And yet I am sitting here struggling to put into words why I liked this book so much.
For me, I think I was impressed most with Thalia Chaltas actual writing style. The verse that the story is written in was just perfect. A set of small poems that all go together, making one big story. But it is more than just the style matching the story. The verse itself felt so dynamic. Thalia does not simply break up her sentences and paragraphs to fit her story. She writes her story as poetry. The difference is subtle, but it makes a huge impact. It has movement and rhythm and makes an impression on the soul.
Then there is the theme and perspective of the story itself. It's such a serious topic - an abusive father and the family he impacts. It is a heart-breaking story. Yet we get to see the story from Anke's perspective. She is not physically abused like her brother or sexually abused like her sister, so this feels like a unique perspective. We often hear stories from the perspective of those abused themselves, but what does it feel like to be the one ignored, forgotten about, and feeling powerless to help the loved ones in your life who are going through those issues? It was interesting to see Anke's growth throughout the story, to see what her life was like and the juxaposition between the good times she has at school and with her friends and coming home and seeing what is happening to her family members. And in a way one might even be able to say that Anke was abused herself - emotionally, as she felt quite unimportant and invisible in her father's eyes.
Now, I feel as if I'm just rambling here but I think if you have the chance to try out this book that you should. It had a little bit of a slow start but once I got what this book was really all about (at least for me) I could not stop reading it. It was heart-breaking and it even made me cry a little. I can't wait to see what Thalia Chaltas comes up with next. I may need to keep the tissues at hand, but at least I'll be prepared next time.
I read a library copy.