What Goes Up by Christine Heppermann is my third book by the author, who writes poetry and in verse, formats I am often persuaded by. This novel follows Jorie, a teen girl who wakes up in the bed of a college but she doesn’t know or remember, and spends most of the book reflecting back on her life and what led her to these moments.
I’m pretty conflicted over this novel–on one hand, I enjoyed a lot of the writing, and especially all of the mycological references and connections, since that’s not something I’ve seen before in a book (especially a YA one). On the other hand, I feel like while Jorie’s back story was really strong, the present tense just felt like a plot device in order to tell it. What actually happened to Jorie and the repercussions are basically brushed off in a way I found pretty off-putting. I thought Jorie was a strong character, and I could emphasize with her, but the novel felt surface-level in terms of dealing with what is going on. I don’t want to spoil it by saying anything further, but it ultimately led to me giving this a much lower rating than I thought I was going to. What Goes Up is really short, under 200 pages, and few words, given the format, and I wish that Heppermann had spent a few more of them addressing these issues, but her writing has enough potential that I’d probably still give it a fourth try in the future.