The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet (Hardcover)
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A hilariously honest book about surviving middle school while navigating a chronic illness from the Stonewall Honor-winning author of Almost Flying.
Twelve-year-old Al Schneider is too scared to talk about the two biggest things in her life:
1. Her stomach hurts all the time and she has no idea why.
2. She’s almost definitely 100% sure she likes girls.
So she holds it in…until she can’t. After nearly having an accident of the lavatorial variety in gym class, Al finds herself getting a colonoscopy and an answer—she has Crohn’s disease.
But rather than solving all her problems, Al's diagnosis just makes everything worse. It’s scary and embarrassing. And worst of all, everyone wants her to talk about it—her overprotective mom, her best friend, and most annoyingly her gastroenterologist, who keeps trying to get her to go to a support group for kids with similar chronic illnesses. But, who wants to talk about what you do in the bathroom?
The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet is a wildly funny and honest story about finding community, telling the truth even when it’s hard, and the many indignities of middle school life.
About the Author
Jake Maia Arlow is a podcast producer, writer, and bagel connoisseur. They studied evolutionary biology and creative writing (not as different as you might think) at Barnard College. They live with their girlfriend and their loud cat in the Pacific Northwest.
Praise for The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet
ALA 2024 Rainbow Book
NYPL 2023 Best Book for Kids
A NPR Best Book of the Year
A NYT Kids 2024 Year of Books selection
★ “Via Al’s plucky, plain-spoken first-person narration, Arlow presents an honest and exceptional story of a tween’s experience dealing with rapid and abundant change, while tenderly reflecting upon themes of chronic illness, found family, interdependence, and queerness.” –PW, starred review
“Al feels all things deeply…traversing the highest highs and lowest lows on her journey to developing pride in all that she is. Her sweet romance with…Mina and deep friendship with Leo are strengths, and the highlight of Al’s story is the camaraderie among a group of chronically ill queer kids providing each other with dignity and nonjudgmental support…Offers humorous honesty and heartfelt relationships.” –Kirkus
“[The] first-person narration is frank and doesn’t lean on euphemisms. Humor is plentiful but not zany; the emphasis on Al’s emotions makes it easy to empathize with her…The casual, varied Jewish representation is another plus.” – The Horn Book
“Arlow’s heartfelt and humorous latest offers readers a story of friendship, self-discovery, gender, sexuality, complicated family dynamics, and, you guessed it, poop.” –Booklist
“Hilarious and touching.” –The Dallas Voice