The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary

YA Contemporary

THE DISTURBED GIRL’S DICTIONARY
by NoNieqa Ramos
February 2018 – Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner (US)

Fifteen-year-old Macy is classified as « disturbed » by her school. But that doesn’t bother her, she’s got more pressing problems. Her best friend won’t speak to her, and her little brother was recently « kidnapped » by Child Protective Services leaving her alone with her volatile mother. Besides, Macy isn’t interested in how other people define her.

Writing in a dictionary format, she explains her world in her own terms, with an honesty that’s both hilarious and fearsome. Slowly she reveals why she acts out, why Zane was taken, why she can’t tell her incarcerated father that her mom’s cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection . . . the kind of protection that involves Macy’s machete.

Ramos has created an irrepressible and whip-smart heroine who speaks with a raw honesty and biting wit that will draw comparisons to Angie Thomas’s The Hate You Give and Meg Medina’s Burn Baby Burn.

NoNieqa Ramos spent her childhood in the Bronx, where she started her own publishing company and sold books for twenty-five cents until the nuns shut her down. With the support of her single father and her tias, she earned dual master’s degrees in creative writing and education at the University of Notre Dame. As a teacher, she has dedicated herself to bringing gifted-and-talented education to minority students and expanding access to literature, music, and theater for all children. A frequent foster parent, NoNieqa lives in Ashburn, Virginia, with her family.

PRAISE:

« Ramos presents the raw, real voice of a fiercely protective and determined young woman who eventually takes up her grandmother’s machete to protect herself and her friend, an act that lands her in the institution. Like Sapphire’s Push (1996), it’s almost too much at times—or would be if it weren’t so believable. The dictionary format and nonlinear exposition work beautifully to slowly reveal the reasons for Macy’s actions, while her wry humor and sharp tongue leaven the first person narrative. An ambiguous but realistic conclusion will provoke discussion. Ramos is a voice to watch; her exceptional writing and compassionate realism will draw many readers, not just fans of urban fiction. »—Booklist, STARRED

« Ramos’ relevant and thought-provoking debut is a powerful addition to any collection. »—Kirkus Reviews