Damien hasn't had many positive experiences in his past. His mother was killed when he was just a baby, his brother and aunts and uncles don't understand his hobbies and passions, and he's not even sure he understands himself. So he's starting over in a new school after being bullied harshly at his last. This time around, Damien vows to stay silent and give the kids at his new school absolutely nothing to go on if they want to bully him. Yet it's lonely talking to no one and bottling up all his feelings.
If you like books such as Raina Telgemeier's Smile or Jennifer L. Holm's Sunny Side Up, you should definitely check this book out! Though this memoir touched on some heavy topics such as domestic abuse, homophobia, and bullying, it was such a fantastic read that it really had me wanting to reach out to Damien to tell him he wasn't alone and that he is understood. This story softly reaches out to those of us who might feel "othered" or not "normal" and lets us all know it's okay to be ourselves (spoiler alert on life: there is no "normal!"). Any reader who enjoys books about finding your own identity, gender roles, and LGBTQ+ themes will find solace in this memoir. Recommended for age 10 and up.
Reviewed by Ginny H., Children's Librarian