Somebody Give This Heart a Pen

Candlewick. Sept. 2020. 112p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536209921.
Gr 9 Up–In this debut collection first published in the UK, performance poet Thakur explores identity, family, loss, relationships, vulnerability, empowerment, and self-discovery. At once intimate and universal, aching and affirming, the poems examine the cycles of breaking, healing, and growth that shape people through young adulthood and beyond. The poems vary in length from a few lines to a few pages, and they beg to be read aloud even as they invite introspection. In several poems, Thakur directly addresses the reader. Throughout the collection, she revisits themes that many young adults will find relevant and familiar, including the closeness and distance of family, the evolution of relationships, what it means to know one another, the ways in which life can both soften and sharpen people, and finding oneself in moments of stillness. In one poem, Thakur extends an invitation: “When you’re not feeling your world, / come into mine.” Readers will almost certainly want to, time and again.
VERDICT An affecting poetry collection for all teens that deserves a spot in school and public libraries.

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