I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
Also by this author: Poisoned Apples
Published by HarperCollins on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Pregnancy, Girls & Women, Friendship
Buy on Amazon
How do you define yourself? By your friends? Your family? Your boyfriend? Your grades? Your trophies? Your choices? By a single choice? From the author of the acclaimed Poisoned Apples comes a novel in verse about a young woman and the aftermath of a life-altering decision. Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins will find the powerful questions, the difficult truths, and the inner strength that speak to them in Ask Me How I Got Here.
Addie has always known what she was running toward, whether in cross country, in her all-girls Catholic school, or in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night, and she gets pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross country anymore; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places. Once again, Christine Heppermann writes with an unflinching honesty and a deep sensitivity about the complexities of being a teenager, being a woman. Her free verse poems are moving, provocative, and often full of wry humor and a sharp wit.
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann is totally a book I read because I wanted to accomplish my lowered 2016 Goodreads Challenge a bit faster. I mean, it’s a book that is written in verse about an interesting, sort of taboo subject. While Poisoned Apples went over my head, I found this book to be so much more accessible. I almost wish that I had read it first, so that potentially I may have enjoyed Poisoned Apples a bit more.
Ask Me How I Got Here is narrated by a girl named Addie. Addie goes to Catholic girls school. She runs cross country. Addie is a good kid in general. She also has this boyfriend. One night, they have sex and an accident happens. Addie ends up pregnant. Unlike other young adult books, she has an abortion. Addie keeps it a secret – only her parents and her boyfriend know.
Despite basically being the best person on her cross country team, she ends up sort of quitting. Addie is in kind of a dark place. That is, until she has a chance meeting with a former teammate, Juliana, at a coffee shop. Addie and Juliana end up sparking and connecting and she finds herself really coming back to life again.
Addie’s character was pretty relatable. She’s smart. She participates in activities. She’s got friends. She’s got a boyfriend. Her family isn’t messed up. I felt like she made a logical choice given her life situation. I definitely rooted for Addie the whole time, even as she made that very hard choice. It was good to see her deal with what happened, but then to move past, recover and by all intents and purposes go on to lead a happy, full life. I felt like Addie’s character takes away from some of the stigma.
As I mentioned above, Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann takes on the stigmatized topic of abortion. I feel like every other YA book I have read where there is pregnancy, the character usually ends up having the baby and keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption. I’ve only read one other book where abortion happens. It is great that Addie wasn’t punished for it. I loved that this book takes a pro choice stance and really does illustrate that Addie made the best possible choice for herself. Writing this post as a pregnant person, I feel like I had special insight into what Addie must have been going through. Pregnancy is not a walk in the park, and I certainly do not begrudge Addie anything. So yes, 100% recommending this book.
Other reviews of Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann:
- YA Bookers – “an incredibly quick read“
- Artic Books – “quick and interesting to read“
- Luxury Reading – “a gorgeous, lyrical, character-driven coming-of-age story“