Ellie Terry’s poetry novel Forget Me Not stays true to its title

Stephanie Canto, Crier staff

“I want to pluck

the moon from the sky,

swing it around

in circles.”

Published in 2017, this middle grade level poetry novel hits the heartstrings just right.

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry is about a young girl, Calli, with Tourette syndrome who tries hard to fit in with her peers at school, until she meets Jinsong. The two are quick to become friends. However, at what cost to Jinsong?

Don’t be discouraged by a middle grade novel. Some of the best stories come from the works that are targeted to young readers. The Newbery award recognizes this fact, and celebrates books written specifically for middle grade audiences. Sophisticated writing does not always equal a great story, and that is the case for Forget Me Not.

The novel is written in in verse that jumps between the perspectives of Calli and Jinsong. Straightforward and beautiful, each one will leave you filled with emotion and wanting to read more. It’s a quick read, but a worthwhile one.

Terry, who has grown up with Tourette syndrome and OCD like Calli, does a wonderful job of portraying Calli’s hardships with school and her social life. The story takes us through only a short time period in Calli’s life, but so much growth happens along the way. Calli learns how to accept her differences in a world that rejects them.

Calli and Jinsong will take you back to your middle school days, where all kids cared about was popularity and keeping up their social image. Jinsong is confined to this image of himself before he meets Calli, and he learns to break free of the constraints society puts on him from an early age.

The only somewhat negative thing I will say about this story is that there is no real plot line. It is more of a slice of life type book than anything else. It uses vignettes for character development. There are minor rises and falls throughout, but the real “plot” is about Calli and Jinsong’s individual growth as people and the development of their friendship.

Another aspect of the novel that is important to mention is that neither Calli or Jinsong explicitly rely on the other to reach their growth.

Yes, there may be some romantic feelings involved between them, but they are secondary to the lessons that they teach each other. This is not a story of a girl who is considered “different” who finds love and that fixes all her problems, or vice versa. These two characters teach each other, and that’s something that young readers should be taught.

Overall this book is well worth the read for people of any age. I flew through this book in two sittings, and I can say with confidence that I will be reading whatever Terry decides to write next.