Book Review: You Don't Have to Be Everything

Teens D.C.

Book Review: You Don't Have to Be Everything

Tiara reviews a poetry collection that captures teen girls many emotional experiences

Review written by Tiara Crutchfield, Teen Council member.  
Being a teenage girl is hard. One foot in womanhood and another foot still in your childhood. Teenagers go through so much. From worrying about school to trying to balance their personal life with their friends, family and relationships. As a teenager, it's hard to manage all this while still trying to actually discover who you are.

You Don’t Have To Be Everything; Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves edited by Diana Whitney does a good job of using poems from various poets to express different feelings and stages of being a teenager. The book is divided into 8 sections: seeking, loneliness, attitude, rage, longing, shame, sadness and belonging. Now of course, there are more emotions and stages of life that a teenager can go through but Whitney decided to explore these.

The book does an excellent job of not exploring one type of teenage girl. The poem includes perspectives of LGBTQ+, Black girls, athletes, curvy girls, skinny girls, etc. There are also poems that can connect to all, that cover general topics such as being a girl, having insecurities, having crushes, etc.

This book includes notable poets such as Maya Angelou and Amanda Gormon. You may also find some poems of poets you probably don’t know. Overall, this book is a book I recommend for all teenagers. The book is a quick read, relatable and has beautiful illustrations.

Interested in Poetry? Look at my recommendations below!
  • The spoken word revolution redux / edited by Mark Eleveld
  • I feel a little jumpy around you : a book of her poems & his poems collected in pairs / Naomi Shihab Nye and Paul B. Janeczko, editors.