Thursday, 21 November 2013

Finding Cherokee Brown & Finding Your Inner Cherokee by Siobhan Curham (Children's, Young Adult, 10E/10E)

The reason I'm reading this book is because it's National anti-bullying this week, and Siobhan's publicist got in touch because Siobhan is doing a variety of features with Netmums, including publishing a free anti-bullying guide, Finding Your Inner Cherokee. First I will review the novel Finding Cherokee Brown then I will review the guide.

March 2013, Egmont, 352 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

being bullied, family secrets, living with step-family, rebelling, resisting change, finding ways to cope with trauma, losing a friend, making a new friend, discovering the real you, 

Some severe unpleasantness, lots of humour, tissues needed

Summary from Egmont
His lips touched mine and for one split second the whole world stopped. Then every cell in my body fizzed into life . . .

When I decided to write a book about my life I thought I&'d have to make loads of stuff up. I mean, who wants to read about someone like me?

But as soon as I started writing, the weirdest thing happened. I found out I wasn’t who I thought I was. And I stopped being scared. Then everything went crazy!

Best of all, I discovered that when you finally decide to be brave it’s like waving a wand over your life – the most magical things can happen...

Nayuleska's thoughts
I need to point out that although I know Siobhan online (*waves hi*) & via snail mail, I genuinely think this book is awesome. The raw emotions from Claire/Cherokee leapt off the page straight into my head. Not every reader will discover they have a second identity, but - and this is a sad fact - loads will relate to being bullied. 

I was bullied at school for being especially innocent, for wearing super thick glasses (sometimes I did wear contacts), & for using a wheelchair. Unlike Claire I did tell my support assistants straight away, and in the worst case I managed to get the bully suspended for a week -score! Even when they were back I was never alone - it was quite funny because some of the guys in my tutor group made sure that they were always around to deter the bully.

So many people are like  Claire though and keep it quiet. I loved how slowly Claire/Cherokee realised that what was happening was wrong, and not her fault. Some of the things she does is a bit radical - but even her haircut isn't permanent, and made the statement she wanted to make. Her family do end up listening to her and each other, which makes a huge difference at the end. I did see hints for what might happen at the end, but I still absolutely loved it and was cheering inside a lot. I'm so glad the ending was positive, and that Cherokee looked forward to life.

Not only is this book great for bullying but, something which those of you on Twitter already know if you follow me, seeing Claire write in her diary every day (almost every day...) got me back to writing my novel every day. Even if it's only for 5 minutes, I'm writiing. I used to do it, but then things happened. I'm forever grateful to Siobhan for reminding me of that good practice! 

You can find heaps more on Siobhan's website

Suggested read
Check out Siobhan's other Young Adult read, Dear Dylan (Young Adult, 9/10E) 

Siobhan has released an anti-bullying guide (found on Amazon & other ebook selling sites) This is an excellent workbook to boost yourself if you're bullied - or, to be fair, even if you've got low confidence because it's an uplifting read, pointing out techniques which can sound crazy but make more of a difference than you'll first believe. I loved the power tweets! I didn't do all the exercises - I was just reading it to see what it was like, but the exercises are fun and help deal with emotions in a non-self-destructive way. All you need is yourself, some time, and sometimes an empty house. The way Siobhan phrases points made me smile and reminded me that negative thoughts are all to easy to get used to. Embrace positivity as you find your inner Cherokee!

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