Review: It's My Life

It's My Life by Stacie Ramey

Category: Young Adult
Reviewer: Michelle Falkoff

Jenna Cohen, a teenage girl with cerebral palsy, wants two things: medical emancipation (so she can have a proper say in decisions about her treatment) and Julian Van Beck (her childhood love who moved away and has now come back). The book tracks both her decision whether to move forward with legal proceedings against her parents and her developing relationship with Julian, conducted via text messages in which she keeps her identity a secret.

While there are few surprises in how the two parallel tracks of the book progress, Ramey’s description of the Cohen family is loving and generous, and Julian is a charming romantic lead. Jenna does not come across as quite so feisty as the other characters perceive her to be, and her emancipation struggle might have been more convincing if readers were provided some additional detail about what her goals are versus what her parents want for her. She is a winning protagonist nonetheless, and readers will enjoy watching her grow over the course of the novel.

It’s My Life satisfies the criteria to be considered for the Sydney Taylor award in that it has literary merit, positive and authentic Jewish content, and substantial and convincing research. It is appropriate for its age category and was professionally published in English.

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Reviewer Michelle Falkoff is the author of the young adult novels Playlist for the Dead, Pushing Perfect, Questions I Want to Ask You, and How to Pack for the End of the World. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.