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Chelsey    by Chelsey Shannon order for
by Chelsey Shannon
Order:  USA  Can
HCI, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Chelsey is one of the first three books in the new Louder than Words series from HCI Teens. Each book in the series is from a teen telling her story in her own words - and in Chelsey Shannon's case, also her own poetry.

Chelsey's mom died from leukemia when she was in first grade. Although it was hard on Chelsey, she was ready for it and could appropriately mourn her mother's passing with her father beside her. While times could be tough without a mother (and her father working on a cruise ship), Chelsey was happy. However, her world was turned upside down in January of 2006 when her father was shot in an attempted burglary the night he docked after a week at sea.

Chelsey was able to finish middle school at home, with her Aunt Chris and her two cousins staying in her father's house. But that summer, Chelsey had a choice to make - to move in with her Aunt Chris and stay in Cincinnati, or move in with her Aunt Trish in California. Chelsey decided to stay in Cincinnati and started her freshman year at a special school for artistically talented youth. Still grieving, her life took many turns before she felt finally on the path to a happier future.

Some autobiographies tend to get bogged down with unnecessary details that slow the story and separate the reader from the author. Not so with Chelsey. Shannon's writing is highly readable, welcoming the reader into her life with open arms. While there is no real end (as Shannon will always remember the loss of her parents), her story is filled with hope, showing others how you can grow into yourself despite insurmountable obstacles. Chelsey is an easy to pick up, hard to put down tale of family, hope, and having the courage to be yourself.

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