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Dear Rachel Maddow

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  275 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
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.

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
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
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Elise (TheBookishActress)
not to make this weird but does Rachel Maddow know this book is being published is she proud
”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 “Applied
Jasmine 🌻
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!!!
kayla ☺

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.
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
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
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, wa
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ya
“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
May 29, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf

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
YA Wednesdays
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
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m so confused as to how to rate this. 3 stars? 3.5? I loved the concept and much of the subject matter discussed, but I can’t say that I actually enjoyed this book. I’m very torn!
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
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.
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
Lea (drumsofautumn)
This was one of those great contemporaries that had a really good balance between being funny with some great fluffy, romantic moments but also dealing with some super dark themes.

There’s a bunch of trigger warnings and I probably even missed some: (step-)parental abuse (also physical!), drug abuse and death because of OD, alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide (blurry lines here but better save than sorry).
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
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
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s not always easy writing a good epistolary novel. There can be something lacking. This one fell a little short for me. I loved, loved the diversity and I wanted to love this one but I just didn’t. But I still think that high schoolers should read it! I liked Brynn as a character but I also thought the story was pretty predictable. I liked all the Rachel Maddox stuff. It was funny.

I was provided an advanced copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley.
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
Ann-marie Aymer
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a well thought out story from first time Young Adult author Adrienne Kisner.

Brynn Harper gives up on everything, she’s endures a huge loss and familial rupture, breaks up with her first great love—who is TOTALLY sending her mixed signals, and is kicked off of the school neewspaper because of her grades.. She also has absolutely no support from any adults other than her boss and her teacher in the special ed room Mr Grimm. Mr. Grimm gives her this assignment to write to a “celebrity hero”
kristin (paper reader)
When a class project asks that Brynn write to her hero, she continues long after the project is finished. This is a deeply poignant book that will tug at you long after you finish. As funny she is heartbreaking, Brynn burrows her way into your heart one quip and keen observation at a time. Brynn's story is a hard but necessary one, something that people of all ages will relate to. Its epistolary format offers compelling heart and tension, rendering me to read it in one sitting. And when I turned ...more
“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

– Epistolary format not executed quite well
Jun 27, 2018 marked it as to-read
Why I recommend it:

-It’s written in letters to Brynn’s political pundit hero, Rachel Maddow. The format makes it very approachable for all readers and the story is easy to follow since Brynn is chronicling everything herself.

-Recommend this book so readers can meet Brynn. She is so realistic and multi-faceted. She worries about her grades and falling behind. She worries about being in remedial classes and feeling different. She tries to avoid her step-father and mother because they do nothing b
Although several parts of this debut YA novel are predictable, the writing is excellent, capturing the voice of a disillusioned seventeen-year-old perfectly. Brynn Harper has a less than supportive family with a violence-prone and blaming stepfather and a mother who seems emotionally absent and mired in her own problems. The one person she always looked up to, her brother Nick, overdosed two years ago, and Brynn has spiraled into her own self-destructive behaviors, finding school work meaningles ...more
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
(TW: opiate abuse, depression, suicide attempt, implied sexual assault, bullying, parental abuse/neglect)

Brynn doesn't give a flying f— about anything anymore. Since her brother Nick died, her mother and stepfather have treated her as absently as possible, leaving her to continue to fail out of school, dropping from honors to academics to applied and getting kicked out of her beloved school paper. And a year ago, her girlfriend Sarah dropped her, saying she was "too much drama."

Now, the Honor ki
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brynn is assigned to write a letter to someone she admires, so she picks Rachel Maddow. To her utter shock, Rachel writes back! Now her teacher wants her to respond. Brynn's not so cool with that (especially because the teacher-suggested topics are dorky/bleh.) I mean, she does write back to Rachel Maddow--hundreds of letters--but she just saves them in her drafts folder and uses that format kind of like a journal. And through writing to Rachel, she starts to deal with her brother's death from a ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Told through a series of e-mails to Rachel Maddow, Kisner's young adult novel deftly explores the budding sexuality and journalistic conscience of protagonist Brynn Harper, a smart kid who is struggling at school through no real fault of her own. I was initially skeptical of this format, but it works really well.
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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 about Adrienne Kisner

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“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?” 0 likes
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