More Than Friends: Poems from Him and Her Review

more_than_friendsMore Than Friends: Poems from Him and Herby Sara Holbrook and Allan Wolf

Wordsong, 2008. 978-1590785874

Synopsis: From the first furtive looks across the classroom to the blossom of new romance and the final flameout, teenage love is loaded with awkwardness, uncertainty, dreams, conflict, and pure bliss. Poets Sara Holbrook and Allan Wolf combine their considerable talents to explore these feelings and struggles by creating the voices of a girl and boy in the throes of affection. As they experience the giddiness of love, the poems’ two characters also face obstacles (parents) and distractions (friends) while learning to respect each other’s interests and needs. Can this relationship survive? In sonnets, tankas, villanelles, and other poetic forms, Holbrook and Wolf examine the efforts of two teenagers who dare to be more than friends. – from

Why I picked it up: The premise reminded me of Wendelin Van Draanen’s Flipped.

Why I finished it: Love is weird. And hard. And when you find that special person, it can be wonderful. We all experience feelings of love in our lives, but nothing so intense as teenage love. There’s just that level of intensity that I would argue that we lose a little bit of as we get older. These poems truly capture that intensity that comes with young love: the first flirtations, the stolen kisses, the fights, the make ups, the decision to just be friends, and everything else that comes with it. Holbrook and Wolf create voices that speak to the difficulties and the pleasures that come from the experience of a first love and how these experiences help us grow. I love that they utilize a number of different forms in this collection, which showcases their craft as poets and shows us about the versatility of poetry and the power of words. There is even a little cheat sheet in the back of the book that outlines the basic forms and their patterns, encouraging the reader to write their own villanelles, sonnets, terza rima, and free verse. It is touching, heartbreaking, and filled with truths about how we look at love and the transition from friends to more than friends.

Other related materials: I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You: A Book of Her Poems & His Poems Collected in Pairs selected by Naomi Shihab Nye and Paul B. Janeczko; Walking on the Boundaries of Change: Poems of Transition by Sara Holbrook; Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems by Kristine O’Connell George, illustrated by Debbie Tilley; Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets under 25 selected by Naomi Shihab Nye; Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love by Pat Mora; A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Naomi Shihab Nye, illustrations by Terre Maher; Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems from WritersCorps selected by Bill Aguado and Richard Newirth; Tell the World: Teen Poems from WritersCorps by WritersCorps; Poems from Homeroom: A Writer’s Place to Start by Kathi Applet


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