Hey, Girl!


Although she knows how to Behave, through ‘dangers in the dark’, to the ‘hiding places’, ‘the school rules/ novenas, lyrics’, it is harder to forget why such actions are necessary. This is one of the poignant, punching poems within Rachel Rooney’s superb collection, Hey, Girl!

Thereafter, we consider her comparison as she builds ‘a house of straw’ that aims to withstand the wind. However, what do the necessary reinforcements do for her, the company, her confidence?

These poems are stirring, demonstrating a life of hope and disappointment, rejection and opportunity. There are so many lines that need to be known, realised, acted upon and recited. Amongst these is the chant of Battle Call, whereupon we seek the ‘lift beneath the wings’. 

Hey, Girl! travels the route from childhood, across the ‘back gardens, a short cut’ to the ‘metamorphosis’ from girl to woman. There is a feeling of handing the baton over, of advice to ‘act as if you’re heading somewhere’ and accept the blessings offered. Bookwagon loves this thoughtful, rousing book. We recommend Hey, Girl! to readers and those who love them.

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Hey, Girl!

Poems by Rachel Rooney, illustrations by milo Hartnoll


Rachel Rooney’s inspiration for Hey, Girl! is a poem she wrote as a 13-year old. Retracing her steps and considering her path reminds her of the coming- of- age slings and arrows, triumphs and discoveries of growing up. Thereafter, we grin wryly through Worry Doll, which concludes with ‘-so once every little while/ I slide her out again and reapply her fading smile’.
Then again, we’re reminded of the world of Suburbia, when we may have experienced a ‘last summer’ whereupon we felt as though we ‘burst through [our] childhood’. Furthermore, we recall the ‘stain on the sheet‘ ahead of the rise of the She-Wolf potential of adolescence. It seems we can almost feel when ‘the nails curve and harden like moons/ and – skin begins to bristle‘. It might be that we consider the rules of the attraction to be as obscure as those of chess, so that we report ‘my love-life is a mess’.
Alongside the empathetic truisms, are rhymes, repetitions, metaphor and so many devices employed capably and naturally. Yet it’s the poetry that lingers so that we remember and thereafter feel for those travelling these routes. Rachel Rooney offers a superb title in Hey, Girl! which we love and recommend to older readers, friends and families. Like A Kid in My Class, it feels as though her observations, impressions and descriptions hit the mark with every word.


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