Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dear Rachel Maddow” as Want to Read:
Dear Rachel Maddow
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dear Rachel Maddow

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,597 ratings  ·  400 reviews
Brynn Haper's life has one steadying force--Rachel Maddow.

She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project--and actually getting a response--Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick's death, about her passive mother and even worse ste
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dear Rachel Maddow, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Shauna The author has mentioned in interviews that the style of the book (writing to a role model) is inspired by Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. I've ne…moreThe author has mentioned in interviews that the style of the book (writing to a role model) is inspired by Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. I've never heard of Dear Evan Hansen, but I would assume that the musical took similar inspiration from Beverly Cleary. The external plot of Dear Rachel Maddow is centered around economic and social class politics in a YA setting.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,597 ratings  ·  400 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dear Rachel Maddow
Elle (ellexamines)
“1. When you look at the papers on your desk and circle something, are you really reading from them? Don’t you read from a teleprompter? When you go to commercial, you shuffle those papers, too. Seriously, is there anything even written on them?”

A close 3 1/2 stars. This book, following a young lesbian writing letters to known lesbian legend Rachel Maddow and while trying to win a school election for the Real Students, has a lot going for it. It missed the mark on a few aspects? But
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
I started reading Dear Rachel Maddow on 2/7/2019 and finished it on 2/11/2019 at 12:45AM. This book is an excellent read! I enjoyed the romance in this book. It’s fun to follow how Brynn pines over her ex Sarah and then being such a klutz when around the new girl she likes. Girl love is such a cute read, especially when it’s in the beginning stages. I like the letter format. It’s easy to read. There are a bit of swearing and the voice is very much like teens. I love Mr. Grimm’s advices. He’s a g ...more
”Nevertheless, they persist.
I guess that means I fucking have to, too.”
This is bound to be my favorite contemporary of 2018. It’s the perfect blend of emotion, humor, diversity, and political references. Queer teens and teens with disabilities will be able to find characters like them in these pages.

Dear Rachel Maddow tells the story of Brynn, a junior in High School. Brynn had a good life, but when her brother Nick died a year ago, her life started falling apart. Now she’s on the “Appli
This is the fourth book in my #atozchallenge! I'm challenging myself to read a book from my shelves that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Let's clear those shelves and delve into that backlist!

Brynn Harper doesn't have many constants in her life. But Rachel Maddow is one. After writing an email to Rachel for a school project--and getting a response back--Brynn continues writing emails to Rachel but never sending them. She chronicles her life in high school, stuck in the basement as part
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-debuts
I read this in one sitting and experienced so many emotions! I laughed constantly--there are some fantastic one liners, and Brynn has an acerbic wit that carries through the book--and then I cried more than I expected to. I got angry a lot, too! I had some choice words for many characters in this book, for being absolute garbage humans. I count it as a job well done when a book gets me so worked up on behalf of the main character. I seriously was ready to call child social services and/or write ...more
If you're interested, you could check out the exclusive excerpt, which is an ADORABLENESS OVERLOAD for me, and an ARC giveaway for my friends in the U.S. HERE!!! ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of books in epistolary format and I loved the synopsis of this one.

Brynn was a great MC. I enjoyed being in her head and reading her struggle was relatable. There’s a pretty big group of characters here, but only a few really stood out to me. And someone really needs to junk punch her mom and her stepdad for just not caring. At all.

Plot wise, it took some time to settle in. I wasn’t instantly captivated, but as soon as Brynn started to get worked up and active, I was drawn in.
Susie Dumond
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was a closeted teenage lesbian, trying to figure out how to come out and what to do with my life, Rachel Maddow meant a lot to me. She was smart, and successful, and delightfully nerdy. She made me feel like it was ok to be passionate about things, like being politically engaged was cool. When I saw the description of Dear Rachel Maddow, it felt like the publisher was describing my past self. I had to check it out.

Brynn is a teenager who has a had a rough few years. Her family has been th
kayla ♡

Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perfect for fans of NICE TRY, JANE SINNER, this is a YA novel about a lesbian girl that's told in a completely unconventional way: in emails written to political journalist Rachel Maddow. I read it a few months ago in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down.

Why should you pick up DEAR RACHEL MADDOW? I have 2 main reasons.

1. unique formatting

YA has been more creative lately with the formatting and style of books, and this is a great example of that. Because of the fact that it's told th
Kate (Feathered Turtle Press)
“How are you doing?”

Just say you’re fine, Brynn. Just say it. It’s what people do. Be a person, Brynn.

“Same old suck. Different day.” I cringed a little at my words.

“Why?” she asked. She stopped on the last step.

“Um. Life?” I said. I could give exquisite detail. But I like to save sharing that sort of thing for cable news personalities.

– Writing style is fun, witty and readable
– Brynn's voice is strong
– Playful premise
– A handful of strong scenes

– Epistol
Gary Anderson
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Adrienne Kisner’s debut novel Dear Rachel Maddow, high school isn’t going particularly well for Brynn Harper. Her family barely exists and provides scant support. Her approach to academics has led to placement in the “Applied” track, and her Honors student girlfriend Sarah has dumped her. Then English teacher Mr. Grimm assigns his students to email a well-known person. Brynn chooses MSNBC political analyst Rachel Maddow.

Maddow graciously responds to Brynn’s first email, and Brynn continues to
(Originally posted on my blog at WhatIsMuch!)

Thank you to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the ARC to read and review!

Happy pride month, everyone! I definitely think it’s fitting that the first book I finished reading this month was Dear Rachel Maddow– just the title alone should clue you in as to why!

However, that actually leads me into one of my favorite things about this book, so I suppose we can jump right in! I loved that the main character of Dear Rachel Maddow, 17 year old Brynn, was op
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, arc
“Nevertheless, they persist.
I guess that means I fucking have to, too.”

Sixteen-year-old Brynn’s life is a mess. Her beloved older brother Nick died of an overdose and her mother and step-father are so clueless that they punish Brynn for her academic decline and ignore her ongong grief. When Brynn is given an assignment to write to a favorite celebrity, she chooses Rachel Maddow who is her current role model. In a series of unsent emails, Brynn tells Rachel about her girlfriend breaking up with
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story was pretty damn good. Heaviee than i expected. A lot heavier. But it's real, heartbreaking but also hopeful. Also, it's hella gay! ...more
May 29, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf, review-copies

I couldn’t get into this one and a bit more than halfway through I had to stop. I just couldn't connect with the story and there wasn't anything keeping me hooked to it. This book is about a girl, Brynn, who drafts emails to Rachel Maddow after choosing to email her as her someone that inspire's her or is her hero for a school assignment. After sending in her school assignment she continues drafting emails for I'm guessing therapeutic reasons. Instead of journaling, she drafts emails to a st
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really HAD to read this book when I saw the title on NetGalley. Queer teenager who's too sassy for her own good and is smarter than the work she does in high school? A love of Rachel Maddow? It's like they scanned my brain and wrote a YA novel. Brynn is a delightful protagonist who you can't help but root for, even when she makes questionable choices. Her enemies become your enemies and her heroes become yours too. I know I've said this before, but I always appreciate a YA novel with a queer m ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
This book was really enjoyable. I like epistolary novels, and I liked that the format was also a learning tool. I definitely have some work to do to rid myself of the idea that honors students are somehow better than non-honors students, and this book challenged that idea in a way I needed. This book was a great example of why we need to restructure our education system in a way that doesn't focus so much on GPA and tests, and that kids who don't get all As all the time are just as important and ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it

Who needs Dear Diary or Dear Abby when you have Rachel Maddow?

Brynn Harper's life is not a bowl of cherries. She's a lesbian living a closeted life with her ultra-conservative mother and abusive stepfather. She struggles with basic schoolwork because the letters and words dance before her eyes. Her older brother died two years before from an accidental overdose. And everyone, or almost everyone, believes she'll die the same way even though she's never take
Sep 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Like any book Young Adult book marketed to people who are too old to be reading them, Dear Rachel Maddow is full of clichés and artificiality. But what makes this book particularly awful is that every character and every interaction between every character serve as a means for the author to propagandize. The men are generally evil, the sympathetic characters are generally gay or disabled, and the theme of the book amounts to platitudes about equal representation. What distinguishes good politica ...more
Tomes And Textiles
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
You can find the full review on

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book and was lucky enough to be featured on the blog tour, so I wrote Dear Rachel Maddow a letter, telling it how much I loved it--from the epistolary writing style to the LGBTQ+ rep, to grief, shitty parents, blended families, tough time at school--this contemporary had it all and really succeeded in gripping me in all of its characters and drama. Very highly recommended.

Find my review in its enti
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This started slow, but I dig a good epistolary novel. Truly, Brynn’s “if no one else is going to stand up I guess it has to be me” tack through the novel was the most relatable thing here - but that might just be me.

I do hope that the published novel will include resources for teens in abusive homes, as well as those dealing with grief, substance abuse, homelessness, and bullying. There’s a lot of heavy stuff here.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.
prag ♻
TW: parental abuse, domestic violence, mention of death by OD'ing

• sapphic Nice Try, Jane Sinner
• but even better
• 💯 characterisation
• lesbian (identifies on page, has a gf) & dyslexic mc (that's my interpretation)
• other disabled characters
• this mix of politics and journalism that feels like it was written for me
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, 2019
not great but the concept of having a breakdown and emailing your journalist role model all of your problems is a little too relatable....
Jenni Frencham
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Brynn is grieving the loss of her older brother while trying to survive in a home where her stepfather actively despises her and her mother cares more about her marriage than her daughter. To make matters worse, Brynn's girlfriend broke up with her. Brynn's grief caused her grades to plummet, which in turn placed her in remedial classes in school. Her only hope comes from her obsession with Rachel Maddow, whom Brynn watches regularly. Brynn even composes emails to Rachel Maddow, although they al ...more
Feb 16, 2019 added it
Shelves: lgbt, disability
I don't know how to rate this because I genuinely don't how to feel about this.
Dear Rachel Maddow is the first YA novel by Dr. Adrienne Kisner. It centres primarily around emails written by Brynn, the protagonist, to Rachel Maddow. During the novel Brynn deals with girl trouble, the mystery of the War Memorial Arson, her abusive family, her brother's death, ableism, and school politics.

It's a lot for a novel. Which is my primary issue. Brynn and the other characters are incredibly endearing an
Ritika Mendiratta
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was amazing, and I had such a good time reading it!
The writing here, first and foremost, was extremely compelling, I couldn't stop reading this at all, it was short, it was crisp yet I never felt as if it lacked depth, as if I didn't know the characters.
Brynn was an amazing main character, she was snarky and sarcastic, yet she was kindhearted and soft and I absolutely adored her.
The way she looks at things, she is pessimistic but she never loses hope in humanity, she goes through a lot
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise is better than the execution, though still a good read. Noted that it's for ages 13 - 18 and I think in most cases 13 will be a bit young--15 and up, maybe? There is nothing graphic here but a lot (a lot) of language. That doesn't bother me in the least but for some readers it will be an issue.

I'm also not sure how many readers of this age are Rachel Maddow fans or even know who she is. There's a little inside baseball here (The Best Thing in the World Today, Debunktion Junction, et
Katie Harder-schauer
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley. This is my honest review.

I'm not going to lie, I requested this book purely because of the title. Like Brynn, I too am a Rachel Maddow fan. That's pretty much where our similarities end though. In spite of that, by the end of the story, I really felt like I understood Brynn and could relate to her at least a little bit.

The format for this book was different. It's told entirely through emails, most of which are from Brynn. We get to know B
Patricia Burroughs
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First off let me give you the elevator pitch from the publisher:

"In Adrienne Kisner's Dear Rachel Maddow, a high school girl deals with school politics and life after her brother’s death by drafting emails to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in this funny and heartfelt YA debut."

Funny. Heartfelt. Yes. That. To the nth degree. Such a fabulous book.

I downloaded it from the library because of the title and that description. If that sounds like your kind of book, I suggest you do the same. I didn't know any
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • David Tung Can't Have a Girlfriend Unless He Gets Into an Ivy League College
  • Rachel Maddow: A Biography
  • Late to the Party
  • The Summer of Jordi Pérez (and the Best Burger in Los Ángeles)
  • This Will Be Funny Someday
  • She Drives Me Crazy
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better (Darius the Great, #2)
  • The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh
  • The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
  • The Summer of Impossibilities
  • Music from Another World
  • This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science Is Tackling Unconscious Bias
  • Orpheus Girl
  • Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
  • Pulp
  • I Kissed Alice
  • Flamer
  • Which Way Is Home?
See similar books…
Adrienne Kisner has master's and doctorate degrees in theology from Boston University and was inspired by her work with high school and college students to write Dear Rachel Maddow. She is also a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in writing for children and young adults. Dear Rachel Maddow is her debut. ...more

Related Articles

  Jenny Lawson is the funniest person you know. And if you don’t know her, just read one of her books and she becomes the funniest person you...
88 likes · 17 comments
“I loved it and then I lost it.
This has not motivated me.
Loss isn't motivating.
It's debilitating.”
“1. When you look at the papers on your desk and circle something, are you really reading from them? Don’t you read from a teleprompter? When you go to commercial, you shuffle those papers, too. Seriously, is there anything even written on them?” 2 likes
More quotes…