Margin Notes



Nikita Gill’s YA debut, These Are the Words, is a poignant journey through the seasons of the soul, offering empowering and heartfelt poetry that speaks directly to the teenage experience. Divided into four sections based on astrological signs of each season, Gill’s collection serves as a guidebook for navigating the complexities of girlhood, feminism, and adolescence. Each poem feels like a warm embrace of “I see you” and touch on themes of love, friendship, family, and self-acceptance.

While many poems focus on the female experience, Gill acknowledges and validates the struggles faced by many teenagers today, from homophobia and racism to body image issues and mental health concerns. Gill encourages readers to reclaim their agency, discover their power, and fight for their dreams, reminding them that they are worthy of love, respect, and acceptance.

Overall, These Are the Words is a stunningly warm and fearless poetry collection, offering a safe space for teenagers to explore and embrace their identities and experiences. These poems are an important addition to any high school classroom, offering a voice of compassion and empowerment to young adult readers.

To offer you a glimpse into the relevance, relatability, and poignancy of this poetry collection, here is one for you to read:


I scroll through Instagram and see the words ‘you are beautiful

as you are’ right after which a perfect picture of a perfect girl in

a perfect black bikini bewitches me. I wonder, ‘When was the

last time you had your heart broken?’ I wonder, ‘Has someone

ever taken you stargazing and been surprised by how much you

know about the constellations?’ I wonder, ‘Have you ever dug

through the graveyards of your past thinking if you left something

living in there, something you wished you had left to grow?’ Her

caption says ‘I love the sun #beachparadise #beachbody’ and I

wonder if she has ever sat in the rain, letting her tears mingle in

the water, whether her version of paradise was always perfection,

colourized just so, a filter making it brighter, a story told

flawlessly. My fingers hover over the comment button. There is

so much I want to know. But instead I log out and put my phone

away for the rest of the day.

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