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Not My Problem
Cover of Not My Problem
Not My Problem
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Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this queer coming-of-age story from the author of The Falling in Love Montage is wry, multilayered, and unflinchingly honest. Aideen has plenty of...
Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this queer coming-of-age story from the author of The Falling in Love Montage is wry, multilayered, and unflinchingly honest. Aideen has plenty of...
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Description-

  • Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this queer coming-of-age story from the author of The Falling in Love Montage is wry, multilayered, and unflinchingly honest.

    Aideen has plenty of problems she can't solve. But when she stumbles upon overachiever Meabh Kowalska having a full-blown meltdown, she sees one that she can actually fix. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help—by pushing her down the stairs.

    Problem? Solved. Meabh's sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when one of their classmates learns about their little scheme, more "clients" start asking for Aideen's "help"—kicking off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and even an unexpected chance at love.

    Fixing other people's problems won't fix her own. But it might be the push Aideen needs to start.

About the Author-

  • Ciara Smyth studied drama, teaching, and then social work at university. She thought she didn't know what she wanted to be when she grew up. She became a writer so she wouldn't have to grow up. She enjoys jigging (verb: to complete a jigsaw puzzle), playing the violin badly, and having serious conversations with her pets. Ciara has lived in Belfast for over ten years and still doesn't really know her way around. Visit her online at www.ciarasmyth.com.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2021

    Gr 8 Up-In this witty and engaging novel, Irish author Smyth creates a flawed teen girl, Aideen, who makes a credible journey from self-protectively tough to ready and willing to face her main problem: her single mother's neglectful alcoholism. When Aideen makes a snap decision to help the principal's overachieving, overscheduled, and generally disliked daughter, she begins doing secret favors for classmates in return for them owing her their help. She develops unexpected feelings for one of her clients and makes a new friend in Kavi, who is chatty and humorous but also has his own problems as, Aideen discovers, everyone does. The story unfolds effortlessly, detailing both suspenseful and hilarious moments, as does real life. Populated with believable high school friends and very few adults, Aideen and most other characters are white, and Kavi is Indian. Here, Aideen's lesbian identity is not a plot point, but a detail that gives her authenticity. VERDICT This engaging novel will hook readers immediately. Recommended for all collections serving teens.-Francisca Goldsmith, Lib. Ronin, Worcester, MA

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2021
    Sixteen-year-old Irish student Aideen Cleary faces some big obstacles. After walking in on perfectionist classmate Meabh Kowalska, daughter of the school principal, crying in the toilets, Aideen gets roped into a drastic plan to help her fix her problems. Aided by Kavi Thakrar, a witness to Aideen's pushing Meabh down the stairs--part of their harebrained scheme--Aideen soon finds herself running a favor-for-favor business for the student body. She silently struggles with her own home life while solving the issues of others to cope with her feelings of helplessness. Smyth paints a snapshot of someone who appears to have everything sorted but on the inside is falling apart at the seams. Aideen begins somewhat rough at the edges and soon becomes a character readers can easily root for: Between her mother's drinking problem and her own failing grades, Aideen deals with issues faced by many young people. A spark of emotional authenticity runs throughout, making the narrative engaging and enjoyable. The language used is very Irish, featuring sentence structures and colloquialisms that set the cultural scene in a completely natural way. Aideen and Meabh are both lesbian, and while Aideen mentions experiencing some homophobia in the past, it is not the focus of the story; ethnic diversity is similarly part of the background texture. A noteworthy take on vulnerability and seeking help that doesn't offer platitudes. (Fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • AudioFile Magazine Irish actor Sarah Jane Drummey performs Ciara Smyth's dialogue-rich novel using varied pacing for the trio of characters at its heart. The story is told from underachieving Aideen's perspective. She, perfectionist Meabh, and exceedingly chatty Kavi find themselves in an unexpected friendship that offers each the opportunity to grow emotionally as they make changes in distressing areas of their own lives--as well as in other students' lives. Drummey's delivery of this well-crafted story's dry wit and authentic pathos provides easy access to its nonstop high jinks, truly awful mistakes, and range of homelife situations that differ in degrees of pain. Listeners will discover that concerns about identity, classism, and wokeness are not limited to North America. F.M.R.G. � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
  • Booklist

    March 25, 2022
    Grades 7-10 Aideen's homelife is troubled, thanks to an impoverished alcoholic mother and a selfish biological father who shows up unannounced to seek respite from his "perfect" marriage and family. School isn't much easier; Aideen is behind on everything, relying on her best friend Holly to keep her going. The pressure to succeed is high at St. Louise's, and when class know-it-all and Holly's rival, Meabh Kowalski, confesses her struggles to Aideen, the sympathetic teen can't help offering to assist with a push when she sees Meabh's on the edge, of both her emotions and a set of steep stairs. Kavi Thakrar, witness to the resulting sprained ankle, begins to find other "clients" for Aideen to help, and she finds herself in a mire of plans and plots, torn between her supposed best friend and her new unexpected crush, and dodging suspicions and questions about her homelife from a concerned teacher. Smyth's characters are fresh and memorable, from tall, unpredictable chatterbox Kavi to Kristen Stewart-fangirl Aideen and multifaceted Meabh. As Aideen struggles to parent her own parent, learning that she can fix everyone's problems but her own, she might have to finally seek help to get her own life and well-being under control.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    HarperTeen
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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