I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This

by Jacqueline Woodson
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Category: Contemporary Realistic Fiction (Multicultural)

Personal Evaluation: I tried skimming this but it was so short and powerful that I ended up reading most of it. I thought Woodson did an amazing job of portraying Lena, and of course although I was sad with Marie at the end when Lena and her sister disappeared, I knew it was the best outcome for her. I feel like all I’ve been reading lately are books about parents who abandon their children (especially mothers) or pass away, so hopefully some happy home lives await in my next set of books! I loved how insightful Lena was but at times it sounded like an adult talking. I also liked how Marie explored her relationship with Sherry and realized that they were only friends because Marie didn’t have the courage not to be Sherry’s friend, and that realization gave her the freedom to be Lena’s friend.

What might interest children: The relationships between friends and between fathers and daughters. I would be careful about who to give this to because child molestation / rape (unclear exactly what happened to Lena) is a subject that requires a lot of maturity, even if (or especially if) the reader is going through something similar.

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