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Dear Rachel Maddow

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  78 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
In Adrienne Kisner's Dear Rachel Maddow, a high school girl deals with school politics and life after her brother’s death by drafting emails to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in this funny and heartfelt YA debut.

Brynn Haper's life has one steadying force--Rachel Maddow.

She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project--and actually getting a response--Brynn
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 5th 2018 by Feiwel Friends
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If you're interested, you could check out the exclusive excerpt, which is an ADORABLENESS OVERLOAD for me, and an ARC giveaway for my friends in the U.S. HERE!!!
”Nevertheless, they persist.
I guess that means I fucking have to, too.”
This is bound to be my favorite contemporary of 2018. It’s the perfect blend of emotion, humor, diversity, and political references. Queer teens and teens with disabilities will be able to find characters like them in these pages.

Dear Rachel Maddow tells the story of Brynn, a junior in High School. Brynn had a good life, but when her brother Nick died a year ago, her life started falling apart. Now she’s on the “Applied
Elise (TheBookishActress)
not to make this weird but does Rachel Maddow know this book is being published is she proud
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of books in epistolary format and I loved the synopsis of this one.

Brynn was a great MC. I enjoyed being in her head and reading her struggle was relatable. There’s a pretty big group of characters here, but only a few really stood out to me. And someone really needs to junk punch her mom and her stepdad for just not caring. At all.

Plot wise, it took some time to settle in. I wasn’t instantly captivated, but as soon as Brynn started to get worked up and active, I was drawn in.
Susie Dumond
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was a closeted teenage lesbian, trying to figure out how to come out and what to do with my life, Rachel Maddow meant a lot to me. She was smart, and successful, and delightfully nerdy. She made me feel like it was ok to be passionate about things, like being politically engaged was cool. When I saw the description of Dear Rachel Maddow, it felt like the publisher was describing my past self. I had to check it out.

Brynn is a teenager who has a had a rough few years. Her family has been th
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5-4. I'd recommend this to fans of NICE TRY, JANE SINNER and for people who want a YA about a lesbian girl that's told in a completely unconventional way: in emails written to Rachel Maddow. It's good, but it's not something that I loved.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise is better than the execution, though still a good read. Noted that it's for ages 13 - 18 and I think in most cases 13 will be a bit young--15 and up, maybe? There is nothing graphic here but a lot (a lot) of language. That doesn't bother me in the least but for some readers it will be an issue.

I'm also not sure how many readers of this age are Rachel Maddow fans or even know who she is. There's a little inside baseball here (The Best Thing in the World Today, Debunktion Junction, et
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ya
“Nevertheless, they persist.
I guess that means I fucking have to, too.”

Sixteen-year-old Brynn’s life is a mess. Her beloved older brother Nick died of an overdose and her mother and step-father are so clueless that they punish Brynn for her academic decline and ignore her ongong grief. When Brynn is given an assignment to write to a favorite celebrity, she chooses Rachel Maddow who is her current role model. In a series of unsent emails, Brynn tells Rachel about her girlfriend breaking up with
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This started slow, but I dig a good epistolary novel. Truly, Brynn’s “if no one else is going to stand up I guess it has to be me” tack through the novel was the most relatable thing here - but that might just be me.

I do hope that the published novel will include resources for teens in abusive homes, as well as those dealing with grief, substance abuse, homelessness, and bullying. There’s a lot of heavy stuff here.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really HAD to read this book when I saw the title on NetGalley. Queer teenager who's too sassy for her own good and is smarter than the work she does in high school? A love of Rachel Maddow? It's like they scanned my brain and wrote a YA novel. Brynn is a delightful protagonist who you can't help but root for, even when she makes questionable choices. Her enemies become your enemies and her heroes become yours too. I know I've said this before, but I always appreciate a YA novel with a queer m ...more
kristin (paper reader)
When a class project asks that Brynn write to her hero, she continues long after the project is finished. This is a deeply poignant book that will tug at you long after you finish. As funny she is heartbreaking, Brynn burrows her way into your heart one quip and keen observation at a time. Brynn's story is a hard but necessary one, something that people of all ages will relate to. Its epistolary format offers compelling heart and tension, rendering me to read it in one sitting. And when I turned ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-debuts
I read this in one sitting and experienced so many emotions! I laughed constantly--there are some fantastic one liners, and Brynn has an acerbic wit that carries through the book--and then I cried more than I expected to. I got angry a lot, too! I had some choice words for many characters in this book, for being absolute garbage humans. I count it as a job well done when a book gets me so worked up on behalf of the main character. I seriously was ready to call child social services and/or write ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it

Who needs Dear Diary or Dear Abby when you have Rachel Maddow?

Brynn Harper's life is not a bowl of cherries. She's a lesbian living a closeted life with her ultra-conservative mother and abusive stepfather. She struggles with basic schoolwork because the letters and words dance before her eyes. Her older brother died two years before from an accidental overdose. And everyone, or almost everyone, believes she'll die the same way even though she's never take
Jenni Frencham
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Brynn is grieving the loss of her older brother while trying to survive in a home where her stepfather actively despises her and her mother cares more about her marriage than her daughter. To make matters worse, Brynn's girlfriend broke up with her. Brynn's grief caused her grades to plummet, which in turn placed her in remedial classes in school. Her only hope comes from her obsession with Rachel Maddow, whom Brynn watches regularly. Brynn even composes emails to Rachel Maddow, although they al ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Told through a series of e-mails to Rachel Maddow, Kisner's young adult novel deftly explores the budding sexuality and journalistic conscience of protagonist Brynn Harper, a smart kid who is struggling at school through no real fault of her own. I was initially skeptical of this format, but it works really well.
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s not always easy writing a good epistolary novel. There can be something lacking. This one fell a little short for me. I loved, loved the diversity and I wanted to love this one but I just didn’t. But I still think that high schoolers should read it! I liked Brynn as a character but I also thought the story was pretty predictable. I liked all the Rachel Maddox stuff. It was funny.

I was provided an advanced copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley.
Dani Zoeller
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. My husband and I watch Rachel Maddow regularly, so this one was really special to me. The main character appears to have dyslexia which keeps her in a classroom for additional help. What I love is that this does not keep her from being herself, feeling all the pain, and working her way through high school.
Ann-marie Aymer
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a well thought out story from first time Young Adult author Adrienne Kisner.

Brynn Harper gives up on everything, she’s endures a huge loss and familial rupture, breaks up with her first great love—who is TOTALLY sending her mixed signals, and is kicked off of the school neewspaper because of her grades.. She also has absolutely no support from any adults other than her boss and her teacher in the special ed room Mr Grimm. Mr. Grimm gives her this assignment to write to a “celebrity hero”
Dec 22, 2017 marked it as to-read
I was sold on the title alone but the blurb, y'all. IS IT JUNE YET?
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brynn is assigned to write a letter to someone she admires, so she picks Rachel Maddow. To her utter shock, Rachel writes back! Now her teacher wants her to respond. Brynn's not so cool with that (especially because the teacher-suggested topics are dorky/bleh.) I mean, she does write back to Rachel Maddow--hundreds of letters--but she just saves them in her drafts folder and uses that format kind of like a journal. And through writing to Rachel, she starts to deal with her brother's death from a ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook
I enjoyed reading this book, but overall it fell short of my expectations, so I am giving it 2.5 stars.

The following review is spoiler free and is based on my read of a NetGalley eARC I received for free.

Our protagonist, Brynn, was a fun character to follow. She was super sassy and very tell-it-like-it-is. I felt like she knew who she was and wasn't afraid of that, which was refreshing to read in a high school charcter. One my favorite things about her was that she almost never got too indulgent
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
ARC Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Brynn Harper is a junior in high school who has found herself failing school after experiencing the death of her idolized brother, heartbreak from her first serious girlfriend, and increasing abuse and neglect at home. The one constant in her life is Rachel Maddow and, after writing to her for a class assignment, finds that she is able to work through what is going on in her life, so as long as it's in the form of a letter addressed to
Leslie M.
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This YA book’s blurb led me to believe it would be unique in its delivery and message, and, for the most part, that assumption was correct.

WARNING: This book contains swearing and references the following: domestic violence, bullying, drug abuse, death, depression, and suicide.

Brynn Harper is a teen dealing with a lot of issues, including an abusive stepfather, a super-conservative mother, recently being dumped, struggling in school, grieving the loss of her brother, and being a closete
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely delightful read done in sent, drafted and corrected email format.

Between her brother dying, her gf dumping her, and her mom marrying a Fart Weasel, Brynn is not having a great time right now. When she starts emailing political pundit Rachel Maddow for a school assignment, Brynn continues drafting emails as a sort of diary and catharsis. New interest Michaela, the drama of school government, and an increasingly deteriorating home life are overwhelming, but what can a teen lesbian do b
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
[I received an electronic review copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]

While this had some great pieces, overall this wasn’t a good fit for me as a reader. If I hadn’t committed to reviewing this, I probably wouldn’t have finished. It’s a little darker in tone than I usually prefer. Lots of foul language, both swearing and crass references. I didn’t click with the characters, and the lesbian romance pieces aren’t something I am used to reading. They reall
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A super quick read! I'm reading lots of YA for a library science class this summer, and this one caught my eye because of the title-- I'm a huge fan of Rachel Maddow.

In some respects, this is a fairly formulaic YA novel of the underdog teen going up against the popular kid, with a dose of family troubles and a supportive teacher. But it flips the formula in some key ways-- a lesbian protagonist (more common these days, but still, representation is lacking), but interestingly, not a coming out na
Karen Nelson
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story! I adored this book. Adrienne Kisner has managed to write a great young adult novel that is timely, smart, and relevant. Brynne has lost her only brother to a drug overdose and isn't doing well. She is overwhelmed with her life, which includes parents that don't want her, a recent breakup, doing poorly in high school and she is still not completely out of the closet. On the recommendation of her teacher, she is encouraged to write to a "hero", and so Brynne writes to Rachel ...more
Megan Sanks
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, and not only because I, too, love Rachel Maddow from afar. Brynn's emails felt real and heartfelt, as did the characters around it. I appreciated the fact that Kisner found a way to include the perspectives of others through Brynn's teacher's comments on her email drafts and the inclusion of emails sent by other characters in the book. Overall, this book had politics, family problems, romance, and Rachel Maddow, and I don't know what else I need.
Cook Memorial Public Library
Recommended by Ellen J. Read her review on the Cook Memorial Public Library blog, Shelf Life:

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May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Dear Rachel Maddow. It's hilarious, heartbreaking, and chock-full of local school politics. So good!
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