Yeah, but I didn’t by Ann Swann – Book Review

by Ann Swann

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Yeah, but I didn’t by Ann Swann

The first rung: the betrayal
The second rung: the assault
The third rung: the rumors
The fourth rung: the painting
The final rung: no other way out

After an IQ test shows above-average intelligence, Benji Stevens is skipped ahead in school. By the time she is fourteen, she has gotten used to being the youngest member in every class. Everything is fine until an unconnected series of events sends her life spiraling out of control.

To cope, Benji spills her emotions onto canvas in her beloved art class. The resulting artwork goes viral and the rumor mill begins to churn. Cruel remarks by classmates and a brutal response from her own sister pushes Benji close to the edge. A family tragedy pushes her on over. Bullied, bruised, and battered emotionally, physically, and spiritually, Benji does the unthinkable.

Thankfully, a host of unexpected characters rally to save her even in the midst of their own tangled troubles. The road back to hope is difficult to navigate, but with the help of the YEAH, BUT I DIDN’T therapy group, anything is possible.

Book review:

Yeah, but I didn’t by Ann Swann is a moving portrayal of a young girl’s traumatic experiences over a short period of time. With modern cultural references, it tackles tough issues and how society deals with them intelligently and sensitively. The story is told in first-person, which adds to the drama as we experience what Benji sees and feels firsthand. This is a great book for young teens, as well as, their parents.

Our protagonist is a young 14-year-old girl named Benji, or Ben, for short. The plot begins with the introduction of Benji’s school friends, but we soon meet her family and extended family who the story centers on more.

Benji’s life is relatively normal, but circumstances and negative events soon begin to pile up on her and she crumbles emotionally and physically under their weight. Benji is an intelligent girl who soon discovers that art can help her explore her emotions, but other people’s reactions to it can lead to misunderstandings, bullying and accusations. Other events begin to spiral out of control, and Benji finds herself having to face awful predicaments that not many adults could handle.

Apart from her young age and her reaction to what is going on around her, is Benji a good role model? Definitely. This book looks at the damage social media can do and how art and therapy can offer positive ways to heal a confused and broken heart. There are many lessons a young teen can take from this book that may stay with them for life. Things like, suicide is not the answer to one’s troubles, that sometimes adults do things teens may not fully understand, and that life without social media or even a cell phone can be pretty good.

Yeah, but I didn’t by Ann Swann is a novel with believable characters and a raw look at society. It is well told and superbly crafted. Swann has created powerful and strong characters, and although the pressure on them is great, it is their grit and determination that is to be admired. Share it with your teen and you’ll find yourselves saddened, delighted and crying for joy as the hero navigates her way through what may seem an endless series of negative events and discovers just how strong she really is. Chick Lit Café highly recommends Yeah, but I didn’t by Ann Swann. Book reviewed by Susan Day for Chick Lit Café.

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