I’ve been trying to branch out in my reading – I’ve been reading more nonfiction, been intentionally adding more diversity in the authors I read, and trying to read genres I often overlook. Given this, I’ve been trying to add more poetry to my rotation. I decided to give this poetry collection, Adultolescence, a shot not knowing who Gabbie Hanna was (honestly, I wouldn’t have picked up this book if I had known), but eager to read more poetry. Sadly, I stumbled into one of the worst books I’ve ever read.
In poems ranging from the singsong rhythms of children’s verses to a sophisticated confessional style, Gabbie explores what it means to feel like a kid and an adult all at once, revealing her own longings, obsessions, and insecurities along the way. Adultolescence announces the arrival of a brilliant new voice with a magical ability to connect through alienation, cut to the profound with internet slang, and detonate wickedly funny jokes between moments of existential dread. You’ll turn to the last page because you get her, and you’ll return to the first because she gets you.
This book is a case study in why YouTubers should not get book deals based on their fame instead of their talent. The resources that publishing a book by a YouTuber like Gabbie Hanna presumably takes are wasted on terrible literature when there are thousands of unknown, talented authors, vying to get published. If Adultolescence had been written by anyone else (read: anyone with out several million followers), it would not have been published. Of the couple hundred poems in this book, there were only four that were halfway decent. The level of atrocity varied:
“Link … in bio” – Gabbie Hanna, Adultolescence
“IDK … i dunno, yanno?” – Gabbie Hanna, Adultolescence
I cannot stress how bad the ‘poems’ in this book were. The author was clearly trying to sound deep, but most of the time the poems sounded conceited, shallow, and downright pretentious. At times, the book felt very condescending – like the author had had profound experiences that the reader could never relate to. In this kind of poetry, I would expect the author to try to relate to the readers, to write something to make a connection with her audience.
Worst of all, the writing was just … lazy. I mean “Link … in bio”? Come on. That is in no way a poem. Sadly, this book was strewn with examples of these lazy ‘poems’. Even worse, there was a whole poem that just spewed nonsense about filling pages because she had to make her deadline. Imagine being someone who spent their hard earned money on a book, and then to have the author so blatantly advertise that they didn’t give a damn about their own writing. I’m glad I borrowed this from the library.
Overall, even if you are an existing fan of Hanna’s, give Adultolescence a pass. Go check out actually good poetry collections like The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace or The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur. I wish I could get back the time I spent reading this book. 1/5