Fall 2023

The Denim Diaries

A Memoir

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 9

Laurie Boyle Crompton’s coming of age in rural Pennsylvania and the New York City area in the 1970s and 1980s was anything but idyllic. In moving verse accompanied by diary-esque sketches, Crompton takes you along as she navigates relationships, plays the happy family at church despite discord at home, manages her mother’s ambitions and her father’s alcoholism, struggles with her self-image, and desperately tries to fit in at school by squeezing into too-tight designer denim.

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Denim Diaries follows Crompton’s journey through disordered eating and sexual assault to acceptance and recovery. Her vivid poems recall the highs and lows of a life filled with hardship and joy alike. At times both harrowing and humorous, this memoir brings new perspective to the importance of self-love and finding hope in the darkest of times.

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Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 9
Genre Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Biography, Diverse Books: Feminism, Diverse Books: Mental Health & Neurodiversity, Diverse Books: #MeToo, Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Social Class, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2023
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Zest Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 352
Publication Date 2023-11-14
Text Type Poetry
BISACS YAN043000, YAN051080, YAN006140
Dewey 811/.6 [B]
Dimensions 6 x 9
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton

Laurie Boyle Crompton is the author of many young adult novels including Pretty in Punxsutawney (2019), Freaky in Fresno (2020), The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High (2014) and Love and Vandalism (2017). After moving to New York she began creating activist artwork promoting body love and built the popular website Dreamer-girl.com, an anti-starvation imagery site that attracted nearly one thousand unique visitors each week for four years at its height. She graduated from St. John's University with a BA in English and Journalism, and has written for national magazines like Glamour and Allure, survived a teaching stint at an all-boy high school, and appeared on Good Day New York several times as a Toy Expert. After having lived in Orlando and England, Laurie has made her home in New York with her husband and two children.

The Denim Diaries: An Author Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton

Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s was full of hilarity and heartbreak, and The Denim Diaries: A Memoir is here to share it all with you. From relationships and makeup to parental divorce and disordered eating, young adult author Laurie Boyle Crompton recounts her coming of age in rural… View →


School Library Journal

“The composition and storytelling are lyrical and heartbreakingly beautiful, allowing readers to discover and relate to deep truths of the struggles of being an adolescent girl.”—School Library Journal


“Crompton’s free verse gives readers a powerful view of her inner self-loathing until she learns to accept herself as she is. At times, this is a tough read, but Crompton’s candidly honest story will resonate with anyone struggling with self-image issues and difficult family relationships.” — starred, Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“This memoir, enhanced by the author’s sketches, is both original and moving—but not for the faint of heart. In often graphic detail, beautiful turns of phrase quickly become hard-cornered truths, providing a poetic roadmap from self-doubt to self-hate and, finally, self-acceptance. Relatable, visceral, and memorable.” —starred, Kirkus Reviews