Book Review: Because I Am Furniture

I love novels written in verse. There is something so powerful about taking away all of the extra images and descriptions and dialogue and having the spare beauty of a few select lines to create a vision of a story. Sometimes, I find these books even more powerful than some prose novels because there's no escape from the heavy issues the characters are grappling with. Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas is no exception.

In this story, Anke feels like no one sees her. Her father is extremely abusive to her two older siblings, but pays no attention to her. Whenever her father starts to get angry, she melts away into her hiding spots so that he won't see her. It works. She is not noticed at school. She blends in with the crowd and does nothing to stand out.

This is her life until she joins the volleyball team at her school. She practices and listens to her coach and gets better and starts to feel more confident. All the while, though, her home life is horrendous and every night brings new bruises and scars for her older siblings. Thalia starts to think that maybe she needs to step out of her hiding place for the sake of her brother and sister. But, her father is a powerful man and she's not sure if she has enough will to change her family's pattern of abuse.

This is an excellent read, though it's super emotional. There were parts that almost had me crying and there were some that had me cheering out loud. It is a quick read because it's written in verse. If you're interested in learning more about the effects of abuse on teens, this is a great place to start.

**This book counts towards the Young Adult Reading Challenge 2010