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  • Mandy McHugh

The Girl Who Outgrew the World, Zoje Stage: A Review

I'm a huge fan of Zoje Stage. Getaway was one of my favorite reads last year. Wonderland's exploration of motherhood and identity blew me away. And we won't even mention the *chef's kiss* that is Baby Teeth. So when I saw the cover reveal for The Girl Who Outgrew the World, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I was beyond thrilled to receive an ARC--and just look at that COVER. If the heart eye emoji were real, it would be me.


Anyway.



Lilly is an average eleven year old girl until she isn't. Struck by a condition which causes her to inexplicably grow, she struggles to understand the changes her body is going through while trying to navigate the world around her. What follows is a beautifully-terrifying journey spanning seconds and lightyears.


I cannot put into words how much I loved this book.


Stage's writing is haunting and engaging, a power-punch of metaphors that transcend the words on the page. On the surface, we have Lilly and her mysterious "ailment." A young girl desperate to know why this is happening and afraid of what these changes mean for her future. We see how it impacts her relationships, particularly with her best friend and father, and we also get the internal reflection adding depth to her character without buoying down the plot with info dump or overly dramatic monologues.


But underneath the mystery, we get a sharp critique on many relevant, pressing issues that cannot be ignored: women's autonomy, agency over their bodies, sexuality, and identity, to name a few. No spoilers, of course, but Stage's examination of these social constructs within Lilly's abbreviated tale is one that will stick to your bones and make you question the expectations society as a whole places on women from a young age. The literal metaphor of a girl not fitting into the space--UGH, it's SO GOOD.


Overall, everyone needs to read The Girl Who Outgrew the World so I can shout-discuss the rest of my thoughts without giving anything about this spectacular work away. Thank you to the publisher and the author for the advanced copy.

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