A hilariously honest book about surviving middle school while navigating a chronic illness from the Stonewall Honor-winning author of Almost Flying. When Al is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, she thinks her life is over, but then she joins a support group for other middle schoolers with IBD. Her new friends help her navigate life in seventh grade.
THE YEAR LIFE WENT DOWN THE TOILET
by Jake Maia Arlow
Dial/ Penguin Young Readers, August 2023
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.
Jake Maia Arlow is a podcast producer, writer, and bagel connoisseur. She 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.