Book review: P.S. I Miss You, by Jen Petro-Roy

Petro-Roy, Jen. P.S. I Miss You. Feiwel & Friends, 2018. 313 pages. $16.99. ISBN 9781250123480. Ages 11-14. P7Q8

After Evie’s parents exile her very pregnant, rebellious older sister off to live in the country with a great-aunt, Evie copes by sending her sister letters.  As Evie’s story emerges, the letters reveal a family in grief, parents bound by strict adherence to the rules of Catholicism, and an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame.   Evie’s letters describe events at school, events at home, and the confusion of being a seventh grader.   She could use some advice from a beloved older sister, but her parents refuse to allow her to speak to Cilla.  As the year turns, Evie discovers herself growing closer to a new girlfriend and begins questioning her sexuality.  The question is, who is reading the letters?  Cilla only responds twice and the letters do not sound like Evie’s sister.

Verdict: The immediacy of learning a story by reading letters works well with this story.  Gleaning each letter for details means that the reader experiences the emotions and questioning of family secrets, shame, guilt, grief, religious belief, and sexual identity along with Evie.   Though the book brings up heavy topics, the presentation is age appropriate for middle school readers and will not only show young lesbian characters to LGBTQ+ readers, but also introduce realistic lesbian characters to those who are not questioning their own sexuality.  Highly recommended for middle and high school collections and public libraries.

Note: See also http://ew.com/books/2018/03/01/ps-i-love-you-controversy-guest-essay/

June 2018 review by Jane Cothron.

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