Aja Todd HeadshotAja Todd is a growing writer and editor from Chicago. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Fiction at Columbia College Chicago, where her work can be seen in Columbia’s Hair Trigger anthologies. She worked at Cleaver Magazine as an editorial intern in Spring 2020.

WHAT I CARRY, a YA novel by Jennifer Longo, reviewed by Aja Todd

Cover art for What I Carry
WHAT I CARRY by Jennifer Longo, Random House Books for Young Readers, 336 pages reviewed by Aja Todd  Buy this book on Bookshop.org to benefit Cleaver From the very first moment of her existence, Muiriel was born alone. Found abandoned at a medical center with no parents to claim her, Muiriel has lived in foster care her entire life. But blessed with a book of survival by naturalist John Muir and her experience in nearly twenty different foster homes, seventeen-year-old Muiriel knows she will not let her past dictate her future: Aging out is terrifying. Still...I can’t wait. I can’t help believing I will be okay. Maybe I’m setting myself up for spectacular failure, but all this time I’ve been so lucky; if I am as perfect as I can be, I bet I can stave off the likely possibility of being homeless within a year, or pregnant, or dead. Outcomes for kids who age out with no family are mostly a nightmare, and it makes me furious. I refuse to let the stupid circumstance of my birth ruin me. I am a Muir, for Christ’s sake! Not in meaningless blood, but in what truly matters. I ...