Calliope June’s mother can’t seem to get along without a man. Ever since Calliope’s father’s death, her mom has hopped from one relationship into another. Which would be fine if the breakup didn’t mean that they had to move. They always have to move when her mother breaks up.
Making new friends isn’t easy, and it’s even harder when you have Tourette ’s syndrome. Calliope makes faces or noises sometimes that she has no control over. This makes her a great target for bullies. Who wants to be friends with the new weird girl? Well, actually, Jinsong does.
Jinsong is popular, and he’s been fascinated with Calliope ever since she moved into his apartment complex. He would like to be friends with her, but can he risk his popularity to do so? And will Calliope be around long enough for it to matter?
Forget Me Not is told in poetry (Calliope) and prose (Jinsong). Even better, the author, Ellie Terry, actually has Tourette’s, so she writes Calliope from the inside out. Terry shows us how hard Tourette’s is to live with, and how secondary afflictions often go hand in hand with it, like obsessive compulsive disorder. She also takes us inside the world of a genuinely nice person who wants to befriend the new girl, but also doesn’t want to become a target himself. How important is popularity? To a kid (and, let’s face it, to adults) it can be pretty darn important. This novel can not only help children understand how hard it is to be a new kid, and how hard it is to be different, but also how to overcome the terrifying need to be one of the crowd.
Recommended for grades 4-8.