Cover Image: Iveliz Explains It All

Iveliz Explains It All

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Member Reviews

I love a novel in verse, and I love middle grade lit that tackles mental health issues, and this book was both! While I really enjoyed this book as an adult reader, I'm curious if it'll have the same impact on middle grade readers. I think some of the ideas might go above the heads of some younger readers. Also, while I enjoyed the bit that were in Spanish (and took enough introductory Spanish that I could use that plus context clues to figure out what those sections were referring to), I worry middle graders will struggle here.
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I read Iveliz Explains it All in one sitting and cried through the second half. It’s a middle-grade novel told in verse detailing mental health, friendship, and speaking up for oneself. I love its mix of Spanish and English and how it destigmatizes mental health in the Latinx community. The drawings and poems really capture the heart and soul and have me feeling so much pain as Iveliz struggles to get better. I would highly recommend this and cannot wait for it to be officially released in September!
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Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this Verse Novel. 4.5/5 stars. 

CW: mental health (disbelief, parental involvement, stigma, PTSD), suicide idealization

Wowza. This is a middle grade verse novel focusing on a Puerto Rican girl Iveliz who is struggling with PTSD and Depression following a traumatic event in her life. The novel is told through verse in Iveliz's journal depicting her struggle with her mental illness, hallucinations, medicine, her mom and grandma's (who has Alzheimer's) struggle with accepting that she isn't "normal" and isn't faking it, and struggles at school. A lot of the book emphasizes the way mental illness makes youth feel alone, especially when no one quite gets what they're going through and they don't have proper outlets to express their feelings without judgement. 

This is a really powerful novel, especially for middle grade and especially for latinx youth. Iveliz struggles with herself to accept the need for therapy and communicating and understanding when meds don't work while also trying to manage friendships and school and her family relationships. 

I am truly at a loss for words on how impactful I can see this novel being for so many students. It's a verse novel, so it's a quick read as well. I only deducted it 1/2 a star because there's a LOT of spanish in the novel, and without a translation of a footnote or something, I was detached a lot because of needing to translate things...but also 1) that could be added in publication and 2) I recognize the eurocentric/english centric view of that and also understand that without translations is important as well.
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Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango is a novel in verse for the tween/middle school audience (approximately ages 10-14).  Iveliz is a 7th grader that has been working on coping with anxiety, depression, trauma, anger, and grief. Her mom gives her a journal, which she uses as a tool to express her innermost thoughts and feelings. She makes a list of goals and she feels like this year might FINALLY be the year that everything is okay. Things aren't okay though and Iveliz experiences a series of challenges that leave her feeling more alone than ever. Iveliz needs help, but how is she supposed to ask for it when she doesn't even understand everything that's going on?

This book covers so many difficult, yet important, topics that most books for tweens avoid. I appreciate the fact that the author wrote about Iveliz struggling even after going to therapy and starting prescription medication because sometimes additional efforts are needed. So much of what Iveliz went through is realistic, from struggling to communicate with her mother and her friends not understanding what she was going through, to her grandmother being resistant to Iveliz going to therapy and taking medication. Besides Iveliz, there are two other young characters that play a prominent role in the story and I think that most young readers will be able to relate to at least one of these characters in some way.

I always enjoy reading Author's Notes, but this one was extremely touching. Andrea Beatriz Arango writes to young readers to let them know that she understands if they are struggling and that it's important for them to reach out for help. She took the time to explain that help may look different for different people and provided resources if they don't know anybody in-real-life that they could turn to. 

This is a book that I would 100% recommend for middle school and high school aged tweens and teens. The novel in verse format makes the book more accessible and less intimidating for youth that are struggling or hesitant readers and the subject matter is SO important for these age groups. This is a title that I would absolutely add to my classroom or school library!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to review an ARC of Iveliz Explains It All.
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A moving debut novel in verse. Iveliz is a character that many readers will be able to relate to. Many young people like Iveliz are dealing with serious issues on a regular basis. It's books like this one that will help them see that they are not alone. I loved the bits of Spanish words and Puerto Rican culture. A great book for fans of Merci Suarez Changes Gears to the Poet X.
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Iveliz Explains it All is the best middle grades story I've read in recent years. Arango beautifully captures the mental health struggles faces by so many teens, especially during this extremely stressful pandemic years. I fell in love with Iveliz and her unique yet universal voice. I will be recommend this to my MS librarian and local library. I am so looking forward to seeing what Arango writes next. I adore the cover and can't wait to see how the illustrations come out in the final copy.  

Also love the nod to a classic, Clarissa Explains it All.
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A wonderful middle grade novel in verse featuring Iveliz, a Puerto-Rican American young girl dealing with heavy things!! The mental health rep in this book was amazing!! Iveliz has PTSD from her father's tragic death, suffers from anxiety and has a hard time controlling her emotions. She's on medication and sees a therapist and talks openly about all of these things in her journal in a spoken word/verse style. Additionally she starts seeing the ghost of her father and has to help her mother when her grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer's moves in with them. Highly recommended for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Mahogany L. Browne or Lisa Fipps's Starfish and sure to be amazing on audio with all the spanish verses but the drawings interspersed throughout the book will make you want to consume both formats. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance review copy!
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Iveliz is twelve, soon to be 13 when we meet her. She is struggling to adjust to the loss of her father and keeps getting in trouble at school. She turns to her journal to process her rage, confusion, and feelings but even then she perpetually feels misunderstood by those closest to her. When we meet Iveliz she is preparing for Mimi to arrive from Puerto Rico and dreading what her grandmother will say about the fact that she's in therapy and taking medication to manage her depression. 

As a therapist, I was deeply touched by the scenes where Iveliz is visited by her father- are they visual hallucinations or markers of a deep spiritual connection? It depends on who you ask. Dr. Turnip, Iveliz's psychiatrist, is a staple in the story and encourages Iveliz to express herself instead of holding her emotions in. This story does a phenomenal job of showing cultural barriers to seeking out and obtaining mental health support and while I wish Iveliz could have had a therapist that represented her own culture I was glad Dr. Turnip was eventually able to provide the family with the support they all needed to heal- Mami, Mimi, and Iveliz included. 

The story moves from Iveliz acting out her pain to finally accepting and processing it. She learns to let others in and use her voice to speak her truth. She fully embraces her identity as a poet and I loved that for her. I also enjoyed how the story highlights the power of friendship in adolescent development. The way Amir, Iveliz's best friend, reinforces that she is lovable and not at fault in the ways she thinks she is is a loving act that helps her remain hopeful when she thinks all hope is lost. 

The author's note at the end includes additional mental health resources and supports which was also a major plus for me. Iveliz and her story is a major game changer in the literary Latinx world and so many young people are going to find healing and connection in this story. Thank you to the author and publisher for the E-arc copy. Palante, siempre palate.
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I’ve tried writing this review so many times now but there are just not enough words to express how much I loved this book and how important it is that books like these exist. 

Iveliz Explains It All is Andrea Beatriz Arango’s debut and follows our title character, Iveliz as she navigates middle school, her mental health, and finding her voice to get the help she deserves. Written in verse, this novel allows us to be directly in Ive’s head as she writes all her thoughts down as poetry in and for her journal, and it is truly an emotional journey. 

The mental health and therapy rep in this book is done in such a mindful way. While also commenting on the stigma of mental health and medication that is present in many latine households. 

The writing is truly so honest and raw, that I found myself crying so much for Iveliz while reading and well after I was done. 

It is safe to say that this book and Iveliz will stick with me forever.

cw: depression, PTSD, grief, car accident, death of a parent, Alzheimer's, panic attacks, bullying, self-harm and suicidal thoughts

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children's Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is one that I would love to get into the hands of every child from 5th grade and up. It was so well written and touches on a lot of subjects that can sometimes be extremely difficult to talk about, especially with younger audiences. The truth though, is that these conversations need to happen so that people like Iveliz can get the help they need and feel less alone in this world. 

Iveliz had a lot of struggles relating to the death of her father, bullying, and what felt like the loss of the grandmother due to Alzheimer’s. I’m going to include just a few of my favorite lines from Iveliz’s poems below that I think are important and can be helpful to anyone who struggles with mental illness. 

“’cause she used to sometimes think my old panic attacks were about getting attention and not an anxious brain response.”

“most times I talk when I shouldn’t and am quiet when I should screech,”

“Medicine is weird in that Everybody takes it no problem for a headache, Diarrhea, or a cold, but If someone needs it for their sadness Chaos erupts.”

I loved this book of poems and wish I had a book like this when I was in school. It really reinforces the idea that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to not know what to do or how to act when we experience trauma. The author did a beautiful job with this and I’ll hold it message close to my heart for a long time. 

Special thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s Publishing for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion!
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Strong verse middle grades novel about a young girl struggling with both grief severe PTSD (violent reactions, visual hallucinations, uncontrolled memories, and flashbacks, etc) in school and home situations that have not allowed her to properly grieve or heal. Her experiences are both bettered and made more painful by the arrival of her Puerto Rican grandmother, who is experiencing increasingly serious symptoms of Alzheimer's. The story is told through poems written in (and to) a journal. Spanish phrases appear throughout, although unfortunately their meaning is not always contextually clear (thank goodness for Google Translate camera, eh?). Other topics covered include friendships, family structures, different coping mechanisms, bias against therapy, and bullying. The publisher should seriously consider including a trigger warning at the start of the text alerting readers to content about suicidal thoughts and content related to self harm.
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I loved this book so much. A beautifully written and moving story, young readers will be engaged by and appreciate the honesty and transparency that Arango uses to present her main character and her struggles. Highly recommended.
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A fantastic novel in verse showcasing an honest portrayal of teen mental health. I also think it is pertinent to acknowledge the inclusion of Spanish throughout the book, with plenty of context to help those without knowledge of Spanish read without difficulty. A definite purchase for my middle school.
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Arango didn't need to make me cry like this, but here we are. Serious conversations about mental health, therapy, and grief aren't often discussed in middle grade, so I'm happy to see this book exists.
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THIS was the book my preteen self needed. Oh how wonderful it feels to see myself and my family represented. brb as i go preorder this for my copious family members lol
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I don't usually read novels in verse, but as a Puerto Rican woman who struggles with her mental health I knew I needed this in my life and I wasn't wrong. I seriously finished this in one sitting because I couldn't bring myself to stop reading.

I loved this book so much that I just want to hug it, go back in time, give it to my teenage self and then hug her because it's what she needed. I loved the Spanglish, the mentions of our traditional food and the acknowledgement that Hurricane Maria was 100% traumatic for all of us.. Never did the story feel forced or uncomfortable or boring. It was raw and genuine. Even though I'm much older than Iveliz, I could still relate to her struggles and her pain. 

This book is simply a must read!
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WOW. Be prepared and get ready for an emotional rollercoaster of a book. I cried, I smiled, and I cried some more... sometimes with Iveliz and sometimes for her. This one, ya'll, is heavy - even for me at almost 30. I do think this will be heavy for middle grade age kids, but the experiences of Iveliz are real, honest, authentic... and one many kids go through whether we, as adults and caregivers, are aware or not. This book told from Iveliz's perspective in diary entries written in free verse will move you beyond words, hitting on the thoughts and feelings of a seventh grade girl experiencing typical middle school stuff sprinkled in with racism, loss, and mental health challenges. My favorite part is how Andrea Betriz Arango highlights the benefits of therapy and vulnerable communication as a means of growing, reflecting and ultimately... surviving.

TW: bullying, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, panic attacks.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an eARC in exchange of my honest review.
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Iveliz suffers from PTSD, takes meds, and sees a therapist begrudgingly. Ive writes in her  journals to vent her feelings especially when she gets in trouble at school a lot. She wants to feel normal and have new friends. Her therapist tells her “we are here for you , you are not alone,” but Ive doesn’t believe him. After going to the hospital because her mom thinks she might hurt herself, Ive finally opens up to her therapist and tells him everything. Can she finally accept the fact that it’s okay to ask for help?
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This packed some powerful emotional punches and I really loved how Arango wove Spanish into the story. I just also found it to be a pretty tough read because of everything the characters were struggling with.
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Iveliz Explains It All or as I like to call it the first book in years to have me sobbing into my pillow at 3 am. Also known as the book preteen Wilmarie needed to understand that they were not alone.
TW: mention of mental illness--
I've written and rewritten this review more times than I can tell because I can't find the words to describe just how much this book means to me, just how much I needed this book to heal. You see, I have struggled with anxiety and depression since before I even knew what those things were. Before I even knew the word "bipolar". I remember confusing anxiety with being nervous or excited because I didn't have someone sit me down and explain to me what anxiety was. I felt so much and was taught to just shove it deep inside. That's why Wilmarie became an expert at acting as if nothing happened. Fast forward to when I was 20 all the shoving inside became so much and Wilmarie exploded. That being said, at 25 I still relate to Iveliz. I relate to the feeling of no one truly understanding you, to being expected to act as the perfect child, or in my case, adult when you feel like you're drowning in your thoughts and feelings. My inner child needed this book to realize she's not alone, to realize that it was okay to feel that way. My current adult self needed the reminder that it is okay to feel your feelings and to open up and ask for help. I wish I could put this book in the hand of every person I know and tell them this me, this is how I feel. I am so thankful to Andrea for writing this story because even if I didn't relate to every single aspect of Ive's story, the way I saw myself in it, I just know many kids (and adults) will be able to see themselves in it. Her beautiful and gripping writing made me live this story as if it was me who was going through it all, and THAT takes real talent. I am definitely looking forward to seeing her future works because I just know that a brilliant future as a writer awaits her. Now go pre-order it and/or request it at your library and join Iveliz in her journey. 
Iveliz Explains It All comes out on September 13, 2022, 💙💙💙
A BIG thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and Andrea for the chance to read this earc.
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