Friday, September 3, 2010

Rae Review

Rae: My True Story of Fear, Anxiety, and Social Phobia by Chelsea Rae Swiggett
Publisher: HCI Teens
Release date: August 2, 2010
Source: TLC Book Tours/Publisher

When you're fourteen and trying to deal with the highs, lows, traumas, and humiliations that go along with being a high school freshman, having severe anxiety can become all consuming. Chelsea Rae Swiggett's anxiety has affected every area of her life—school, family, friendships, and romance—ultimately pushing her to lose her voice, withdrawal from everyday life and school, and develop an eating disorder.

The sounds of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack and something as simple as being called on in class could push her over the edge, convinced that everyone was judging her, mocking her. Faking sickness so she could stay home became her only solution, since she'd rather do anything than face the reality of what happened behind the school's double doors. Rae tells a story all-too-many teens today relate to—what it feels like to see the world through a lens of constant debilitating fear, anxiety, and stress.


Rae was my first Louder Than Words novel and it definitely won’t be my last. Reading Chelsea’s story was inspiring and heart breaking. I flew through it in a couple of hours, but Rae will stick in my head for a long time.

Reading about Chelsea’s anxiety and fear, especially at school, was heart breaking. She had such a hard time in high school and every day was a challenge to get through. As a high school student, I know how difficult it can be. I can especially relate to her fear of public speaking. I think every student fears class presentations, and there was a time when I couldn’t do them without shaking and stumbling over my words. That was bad enough, but seeing how every minute was like that for Chelsea was awful. I just wanted to go into the book and tell her everything was going to be okay.

Sharing the worst part of your life with the world is brave and awe inspiring. I applaud Chelsea for opening up, because it makes those suffering from similar problems realize they aren’t alone. I am sure Rae will impact many people, as it did me, and I can’t wait to share this memoir with others.

Chelsea, thank you for sharing your story, and I cannot wait to read your next release.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars


  1. Lovely review! I'm dying to read this, I love Chelsea's blog.

  2. I enjoyed the review, sounds like a great book.

  3. This sounds like something I would love to read. I can relate with this! Never to this extreme but I always feel like people are judging me.

  4. Great review. I have a HUGE fear for public speaking and I have anxiety too! Being a high school student, I can so relate to all of this!

  5. Fear of public speaking? Yes! Whenever I had to give reports the other kids would raise their hands and say "I can't hear her". Even now, that I'm 27 and have gotten better, my mouth still gets dry, and I have a hard time once that happens.

  6. I can entirely feel her pain when it comes to social phobia and anxiety. It's hard for anyone to go through, that but as a high school student? It affects you tenfold. It's great that Chelsea has addressed this issue and shared her struggle, to let kids, adults, whomever, know that they're not alone. Thanks for reviewing this!! I'm really looking forward to reading it.

  7. Great review, this book looks great especially as someone who has struggled with anxiety and an eating disorder-I'm sure I can relate to this book very well.

  8. Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    I've also known other young people struggling with this same social anxiety - even into their 20's.

    I still say that the high school years have to be the hardest, you're struggling so hard to fit in, AND to find yourself - your uniqueness - at the same time.

    Parents don't always help matters, either lol

  9. Great review! I'm glad that the book spoke to you in such a profound way.

    I always contemplated writing a book about social anxiety disorder, but I could never bring myself to do it because my narrative always sounded lame -- I wasn't sure anyone would be interested in it, or would understand the depth of how jarring social anxiety can be. So I really applaud Chelsea for writing this book. It takes a lot of guts.

    I'm really more intrigued by this story from your review -- I want to see how I can relate to it. I had actually dropped out of high school my fourth year because I let my combination of depression + social anxiety get control of my life. It was really bad, and I'm still suffering the after effects of it.

    Anyway, enough being rambly... I'm glad these books are out there for teenagers who may be going through the same thing, but are too afraid to let their voice be heard for fear of being lame or misunderstood.


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