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The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  383 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Macy's school officially classifies her as "disturbed," but Macy isn't interested in how others define her. She's got more pressing problems: her mom can't move off the couch, her dad's in prison, her brother's been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn't speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms ...more
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published February 1st 2018 by Carolrhoda Lab (R) (first published January 31st 2018)
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NoNieqa Ramos Hola! So my next YA The Book of Love does feature a powerful Latina, but it isn't Macy. That being said, I always envisioned writing a sequel.

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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  383 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
I give this book 5 out of 5 Freakin Fantastic Stars! I am over the moon about this BOOK!

What attracted me to this book was the cover and the title, then I read the premise and was sold. This book meant more to me than pages in a book, I understood Macy. I was Macy.

I saw many reviews on this book and so many DNF this book because of the spelling and grammatical errors. I understand the need for proper grammer but this was about Macy expressing herself. I thought it was beautiful literature!

This w
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although I had very little choice in the matter, this book was extremely good. I am assuming it was written for a YA audience, since that is the course I am taking, but it has liberal amounts of "motherfucker" and "fucker" scattered throughout to ensure any rural, conservative district in existence would burn it before allowing a student to see it.
The story follows Macy, a girl with a machete in the ghetto. It was realistic and depressing. The violence was mostly off scene. The story reads like
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Macy Cashmere’s one-of-a-kind, no-holds-barred teen memoir will blow your mind and break your heart. Her unforgettable voice is hard-hitting and unflinching, compassionate and street wise, delivered with a linguistic and structural playfulness that both dazzles the reader and draws them in deep. With Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, NoNieqa Ramos establishes herself as a literary star on the rise.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my. This book. I’m still trying to find the words to describe how much I was charmed by, fell in love with, then had my heart ripped out by this EXCELLENT piece of literature. @nonieqa.ramos , I HEART Macy. She is the headstrong, imperfect, big-hearted heroine I’ve been waiting for. I am so grateful for the chance to have read an ebook from Edelweiss, and now sing its praises to the world.

The school Macy Cashmere attends calls her “disturbed”. Especially since she started shaving her head an
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-read
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I'm but a few chapters into this book and, already, I'm very impressed. I can already see this book hitting home with many of my students because it's rare to find a book that is willing to present us with a protagonist who has social and environmental cards stacked against her, as do many of my students.

Macy Cashmere describes herself (as does everyone else) as disturbed. But, her brother is in foster care, having been taken a
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was granted the ARC by Netgally. It took me a bit to get into the rhythm and style of this very unique book, and when I did... BAM!! I was getting up in the morning before everyone else so I could read more about disturbed girl Macy. As a teacher I felt sad for her yet frustrated. Reader be aware, the content and language is mature but completely appropriate to the situation. Again, thank you Netgally for this opportunity.

Meet, Macy Cashmere, a high school girl living in the margins of societ
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Swearing and spoilers to follow.

If you're here for my usual snark and 'oh dear god why did I read this book,' you may just want to move along. This is not the review you're looking for.

This book. Holy shit. This book. I just. I want to pass this book out to my students and go "Look! Literature isn't just written by white people. You don't need to just read books by dead, white men! This is Your Story! Someone understands." I w
This very voice-driven novel follows Macy as she navigates her own tumultuous home life -- one with an inconsistent mother, a father in prison, and a younger brother in the foster care system because of repeat CPS visits -- with understanding why it is her best friend has been pulling away from her. Her best friend, as it turns out, has been battling her own home life demons, too. Which is really the overarching exploration here: these are teens living hard, hard lives and still managing to get ...more
Dawn Ferencz
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Macy's story broke my heart. I think this will be a book students will read and recommend to their friends.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book. Wow. As a teacher who spent 11 years in a now title 1 mostly Hispanic school, I feel like I have taught a version of both Macy and Alma. This book is so raw, tragic, and real. As a teacher, it has been such a reminder that the students we teach are HUMAN and UNIQUE. And we are not just teaching them our subject. We are teaching individual CHILDREN. And their lives are not all neat and tidy. In fact, we may never know how truly messy they are. I’m at a loss for words....This book will ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favorites
What just happened?!

Changed it to 5 stars because I could not stop thinking about Macy during the ~4 days it took to read this and for lines like:

"When God feels like I do - there are floods. There is fire. If God felt what I was feeling right now, the clock would explode. The windows would crack. The floor would split open." pg. 268

"No brain is made to think what I'm thinking. No heart to feel what I'm feeling. But there's nothing left to break that hasn't been broken. Nothing except me." pg. 1
Jenny Buchta
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Still currently reading but just had to put in my two cents in regards to people “rating” this novel. I’m just wondering if any of these readers have been teachers in an inner city school or if any readers (who gave low ratings to this novel) have ever come in contact with children (yes, children) who behave this way? Life in an urban setting is very scary and this character has (not acclimated to) but grown up in this setting. Thus the manner of writing reflects the character’s environment. See ...more
Kaycee Bowick (Off_The_Press)

4 out of 5 stars

"We like two hands of the same clock. Always connected. Sometimes in our own space, but we always meet. Nothing without each other. At least I'm nothing without her."

Macy Cashmere (last name: MYOFB) is as "at-risk" youth as they come-- She's a racial minority, lives in poverty, comes from a very broken home, and is living with an emotional behavioral disorder (or 'disturbed' as she and others term it). With the cards stacked against her, Macy's every day life is just a ser
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kirkus Reviews wrote: "...her voice is inimitably unique in contemporary teen literature. The heartbreaking events are almost unbearable, but the author depicts them with authenticity and empathy—even when Macy wields a machete to fix a problem." I couldn't agree more. I laughed and I cried. The Macy Cashmere character is someone I'll never forget.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, realistic, ya
Almost anything terrible that can happen will happen (even if offscreen) in this book. Kidnapping? Prostitution? Dead babies? Foster care? Shootings? Parlorless piercings? Sexual Assault? Starvation?
AND MORE. A little overdramatic, but great for fans of truuuuue diary fiction like Go Ask Alice.
Jenna Freedman

Protagonist Macy Cashmere MYOFB (how she writes her last name in her dictionary entries) is legitimately disturbed. Her mom is a selfish pothead with a series of "guests," her dad is in prison, and her brother has been claimed by child protective services. She's got two friends, George who also performs disturbedness, and the other, Alma, who is an achiever, taking care of half a dozen siblings and slamming the AP track in high school. 

I haven't read as raw and street poetic a book as this in
Kelly Hager
This starts as almost a comedy. It's not that Macy's life is particularly funny but she has an interesting way of viewing the world and she has this spirit that refuses to be defeated. (Even though her brother has been taken by CPS and her mom veers between neglectful and abusive; even though she only has two friends; even though even though even though.) 

Then things take a dark turn and this book goes from heroic to heartbreaking. 

This is a book that will stay with me and Macy is a character I
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I feel conflicted about this book and I put it down several times, but once I hit page 60 (see entry, "Bestie"), I was glad I gave it a chance. It was beautiful & intense & hard and reminded me of some parts of real life. There was such stylization, though, it made it hard for me to discern what was honest and what was to make a point. Even for a walk of life I've only tiptoed into, there were times that felt slightly pastiche. Regardless, it is bleak, and likely necessary.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Macy's dictionary may not follow strict alphabetical order, but Macy isn't your normal teenage girl. She has different definitions of things, and through them she tells the story of a struggle to take care of herself after her little brother gets taken by CPS and her father goes to jail. Her best friend Alma isn't speaking to her and her other friend George is maybe even more disturbed than Macy is. Through it all Macy will handle things in her own way, and hopefully get her brother and best fri ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary is as disturbing as its name implies.

While, in an effort to not trivialize or pretend as if teenagers don’t go through hard things, I’d timidly suggest this novel for older teens.

Macy is disturbed or is she? Forced into a life of neglect, poverty, and dysfunction—it’s hard to decipher “crazy,” behavior from a cry for help.

Macy’s mom is as present as she is absent—and her father is incarcerated. She has a best friend, Alma who’s life is just as complicated—and her
I'll be honest, Ramos' play on linguistic style & syntax can be a bit jarring & take some getting used to at first, but just like our unconventional heroine, Macy Cashmere; it's raw, gritty, & unapologetically honest.
Macy is all-in & in your face whether we like it or not- and we, the readers of her dictionary manifesto are all the better for it!

As the author herself has stated, "We need diverse voices that crush stereotypes like cockroaches under chancletas..... If you’re not
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, latinxinpub
I was about three pages in when I started recommending this to so many people around me! I told a student (undergrad writing a research paper on students in HS with IEPs, experiences of children of color) I'd finish by that weekend to get them the book by the following class session but I couldn't. This book took me longer to finish. I would linger on a scene for days! The main character Macy, her friends, the adults in her life both at home and in school will stay with you. I wish this book wer ...more
lucky little cat
Do not read this if you teach in a public school, because you already know all about girls like Macy Cashmere.

It's a cruel world. Keep your imagination sharp.
Chronic problem student who harasses teachers for mental exercise or staunch defender of all the weaker kids? You won't be surprised that Macy's both. But you will be fluffin' impressed at Macy's wit, warmth and ingenuity.

I recommend this without reservations to all non-teaching adults.

TW: mental illness, addiction, f-bombs, adult situ
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The structure of this book is so unique, short entries, A-Z like a real dictionary, leaping forward and backward (See B for Burner, G for Gas). The character development is beautiful. And even though Macy's world is relentlessly ugly, there are glimmers of beauty and connection. Like real life.
Jenny Ashby
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Picture me sitting with a slack jaw upon finishing this book as I try to grapple with everything that I've just read. I had a slow start getting in to Macy's story because she references events that haven't yet happened and I was a little confused, but thing start to come together quickly. Ramos does a masterful job of leading the reader slowly into the darkness of Macy's life. We start with problems at school and her mother's many guests and Macy's ever-present hunger. I get the picture quickly ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I picked up this book because I wanted to read something outside of my normal genres and I was intrigued by a book written in the format of a dictionary. I appreciate that this could be a good insight into the life of a troubled girl with a very difficult life, but I could not get into it. I can see it making its way onto the reading list for Teen Literature classes in MLIS programs.

I received an ARC from NetGalley. It will be published on February 1, 2018.
Holy cow. This was intense, but not in that bleak, maudlin way a lot of YA is intense? I cannot say I have read anything like this.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Macy Cashmere...I love you! With all my heart and soul. I love you because you are straight-forward. I love you because you don't know how lovable you are. I love you because you fight for what is right. I love you because of Shakesbeer. The world needs more Macy Cashmeres and you are NOT stupit.
Macy, you have my heart...

Mrs. Ramos - thank you for writing an incredible book. I am a ferocious and very picky reader. This story had me sucked in from the beginning. It had me laugh, it had me cry,
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Move over, Holden Caulfield. You've just been left in the dust by Macy Cashmere,the newest, most extraordinary voice of adolescent rage and longing in American literature. She's a nihilist, a poet and she's writing her own dictionary. School is her bane and her refuge from a father in prison, a crackhead mom and a baby brother in foster care. She carries her abuela's machete and isn't afraid to use it. Is she trouble? You better believe it, and you will find yourself applauding every devastating ...more
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Raised in the Boogie Down Bronx, NoNieqa Ramos is an educator, literary activist, and writer of picture books and young adult literature. She writes to amplify marginalized voices and to reclaim the lost history, mythology and poetry of the Latinx community. THE DISTURBED GIRL'S DICTIONARY was selected as the New York Public Library's Best Books 2018, YALSA's Best Books 2019, and earned an In the ...more
“This whole thing is in my head, that's all. Everything is always IN MY HEAD. But isn't everything in your head? What does it mean for something to be out of your head?” 1 likes
“Because you're not my enemy doesn't mean you're my friend.” 1 likes
More quotes…