Book Review: Amy Maurer Jones’ A Zebra Like Me

February 10, 2014 4 out of 5, review 0 ★★★★

Book Review: Amy Maurer Jones’ A Zebra Like MeTitle: A Zebra Like Me
Author: Amy Maurer Jones
Genre: Young Adult
My Rating: four-stars
My Copy: Review Copy via Author
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Maybelle Dawson longs for normalcy and belonging. Often misunderstood, she struggles with a rare disorder, labeling her a Medical Zebra.

Maybelle’s happiness and well-being threaten to slip through her fingers as she battles to take control of her life. She faces a never-ending battle on her journey to find love, courage and friendship in a world lacking acceptance.

With the guidance of her guardian angel, Maybelle finds her way out of emotional and physical isolation to discover lasting love and amazing friendships.

A Zebra Like Me is the story of one teenager’s battle with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder affecting one in five thousand people.

Amy Maurer Jones’ A Zebra Like Me is a touching story about a teenage girl suffering from a rare disorder and discovering how precious friendships can be.

Maybelle Dawson is your typical teenager with one exception. She suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder that affects the body and can cause chronic pain and fatigue. Her grandmother doesn’t believe Maybelle and her symptoms. While Maybelle’s friends are mostly hers because of her cousin, she longs for her own freedom. Maybelle is about to get her wish and when a mysterious good looking boy moves to town, he shows her how awesome life can be and not to be afraid to try new things.

We have good character development. Maybelle is our main character and through her we get to know everyone in her immediate circle. I loved how supportive her mother was and was annoyed when her grandmother didn’t believe Maybelle and her symptoms. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those with EDS knowing people who are suppose to love them unconditionally might not believe them. We have several secondary characters who play an important role. Nick is Maybelle’s neighbor who secretly crushes on her and I won’t go into details because I want you to know him on your own. Then we have the mysterious Malach who becomes a much needed friend to Maybelle. Again, I won’t go into details because I do believe you need to read this in order to fully appreciate him.

Narrative is first person told via Maybelle and her guardian angel. Jones does let the reader know when there’s a shift in narration and at times it can pull you out of the moment. It’s easy to go back and see the chapter title and see who is speaking. While I’m not a big fan of first person narration, I do like it when the author explains the change in narration because it helps identify the tone and voice of a character. Sometimes you can’t tell the difference if the author doesn’t make note of it. Both narrators are trustworthy even if we don’t quite know Malach’s motive for being in town. While we trust him because Maybelle does and of course we know who he is, one can’t help but be suspicious of his motives.

What I really liked about Jones’ A Zebra Like Me is how much we can relate to Maybelle. We’ve all been in her shoes and the uncertainty of making friends. I’ve read several of Jones’ books before and I’ve said it then and I’ll say it again, she truly understands teenagers. I loved the feelings Jones made me feel. From the uncertainty and frustration to the feelings of joy and happiness. It would have been easy for Jones to turn A Zebra Like Me into a “poor me” book , but instead she gives us a heroine who is real. One that we can all associate with and she’s not afraid of the limitations EDS can impose. She’s aware of her surroundings and I really liked how she didn’t need a boy to define her and instead it was a friendship that helped her realize she has a lot of potential if she just believed in herself a little more.

If you’re looking for a new author to try or are looking to read something with emotional depth, I highly recommend Amy Maurer Jones’ A Zebra Like Me.

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