Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Anke lives in fear of her father and his wrath. He abuses her brother and sister in a variety of ways, but Anke is invisible to him. He pays her no attention at all. She begins to wonder what is worse, abuse or being completely ignored as if she is nothing. Then Anke joins the volleyball team at school and finds her voice. Her growing strength of body and spirit means that she can no longer be the silent witness at home. Told in poems, this novel explores the damage of abuse in a family and what happens when one person changes her role.

Chaltas’ poems capture small scenes in Anke’s life, adding up together into a full picture of a teen girl and the strange world she survives in. There are poems that hurt to read, changing the way breath moves out of your body. The poems are built to ebb and flow, not all have that crippling pain in them, allowing readers to breathe once more. But all carry the knowledge of a tortuous existence. Beautifully written, wonderfully paced and vividly done.

Recommended for readers of A Child Called It, this book uses poetry to bring emotions and pain directly to the reader. Not for the faint of heart, this book is powerful and bleak, but will leave readers with hope in the end. Appropriate for ages 14-17.