In Laura Zimmermann’s debut novel, My Eyes Are Up Here, one girl struggles with her body image and being seen for who she is and not what she looks like. Laced with bluntness and wittiness, this YA novel, out June 23rd, is hopeful, funny, and a little bit heartbreaking.
Fifteen-year-old Greer Walsh has a big problem; well two of them. Greer’s two problems, that have made her world a very small, very lonely place, come with a label: 30H. 30H is her bra size - or it was the last time anyone checked. She stopped letting people get that close to her with a tape measure a while ago. Ever since everything changed the summer before ninth grade, Greer has felt out of control. She can't control her first impressions, the whispers that follow, or the stares that linger after. The best she can do is put on her faithful XXL sweatshirt and let her posture - and her expectations for other people - slump. But people - strangers and friends - seem strangely determined to remind her that life is not supposed to be this way. Despite carefully avoiding physical contact and anything tighter than a puffy coat, Greer finds an unexpected community on the volleyball squad, the team that hugs between every point and wears a uniform "so tight it can squeeze out tears." And then there's Jackson Oates, newly arrived at her school and maybe actually more interested in her banter than her breasts. Soon Greer starts to realize that maybe instead of hiding, she can try to embrace who she truly is.
The way Greer grapples with her body image and constantly compares herself to others is something that so many teenagers do. However, she doesn’t realize that every person she encounters is different in their own way: whether they don’t feel skinny enough, feel too tall, wear a headscarf, or have neon green hair! The way all of these different body types and looks are seen as normal or praised in Greer’s mind contrast the way she views herself. Meanwhile, she lacks the confidence to view herself in the same light that she views others: beautiful in their own way.
Greer gets really into her head and it’s so all encompassing of a self conscious teenager that it makes this book super relatable. The issues Greer deals with, like finding a “normal-size” dress that fits or coming home and lying on her back because her chest feels so heavy, are simple, everyday concepts that shouldn’t be concerns for a fifteen year old girl; but they are. The way that Zimmermann focuses on the mundane moments of teen-hood that make this book such an engaging and relatable book.
This novel isn’t just about being insecure; it’s about being a teenager and dealing with both the pressures of society and school while trying to come out of your shell. If you’re looking for a quick and funny book with underlying important issues, then My Eyes Are Up Here is the book for you!
*I received an ARC from PenguinTeen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!