It Sounded Better in My Head

Flatiron. Apr. 2020. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250219268.
Gr 8 Up–Natalie’s world is turned upside-down when her parents announce on Christmas day that they are separating. She is still adjusting to the shifting dynamics of her two best friends, Zach and Lucy, dating. Natalie is pulled even further outside her comfort zone when she begins a tentative romance with someone unexpected. Natalie is a refreshingly complex and relatable character. She is strongly affected by her experience of suffering from severe acne as a younger teen. Though she has undergone successful treatment, the scars, both emotional and physical, linger. As a result of years of hiding, Natalie is more sheltered and insecure than most 18-year-olds. Though she is smart and funny, with friends and family who love her, she still doubts her worth. Motivated by her blossoming romance and the changes in her family, she tries to explore new things and reveal more of herself to those outside her inner circle. It is rewarding to see her open up and become more confident throughout the book. Severe adolescent acne is not often covered in YA fiction and readers who have experienced this will feel seen within the pages of this book.
VERDICT An authentic coming-of-age story that perfectly captures the awkwardness and self-doubt many young adults feel. Teens will see aspects of themselves mirrored in Kenwood’s debut.

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