Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: So Much it Hurts

Publish November 21, 2013

9781459801363 Monique Polak 978-1-4598-0136-3 Orca Books Sept. 2013. 279 pp. Ages 13 and up. At seventeen, Iris Wagner is waiting for life to begin. She’s ready to experience her first romance, she’s preparing to graduate from high school, and more than anything else in the world, she wants to be an actress. When Mick Horton – a sexy Australian director – notices her, there is immediate chemistry between them, despite their fourteen-year age difference. Mick treats Iris like an adult, and he makes her feel talented and special. Although Mick has a violent dark side and dangerous secrets, Iris knows that if she can just stop making Mick angry, everything will work out fine. In her latest teen novel, So Much It Hurts, Monique Polak shows that sometimes, falling in love can leave a bruise. Raw, explicit and inspired by true events, Polak provides an excellent starting point for discussions about domestic violence. She pulls the reader down the rabbit hole of abuse, effectively demonstrating how otherwise smart girls make bad decisions in love, how easily they become trapped, and why they stay when all logic points to the need for escape. In agonizingly graphic detail, the compelling narrative catalogues the relationship between Iris and Mick from their first sexual encounter to their frequent, angry clashes. While it is frustrating to watch Iris self-destruct, the book is also educational and redemptive, laying bare the patterns of abuse and the elements that feed it.     Karen Doerksen   Karen Doerksen lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta with her husband and four children. She works for the Edmonton Public Library, and holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. This review, and all of our children’s book reviews, are free to reprint and repost. Download the files here or Contact Us for more information. Word:So Much It Hurts PDF:So Much It Hurts