Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers by Caela Carter | Book Review

Hello friends! As the title mentioned, we’re going to talk about an audiobook I finished on August titled Fifty Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers by Caela Carter. I read this book for one of my Orilium Readathon classes. It’s an interesting book where so many parts are relatable and eye-opening for me since it touches the neurodiversity topic. Some parts made me sad and some others made me happy. Even though this book is labeled for middle grade, I think everyone from all genders and ages need to read it for the messages and information provided inside this book.


(Hai teman-teman. Sesuai judulnya aku bakal bahas mengenai audiobook yang aku selesaikan di bulan Agustus yaitu Fifty Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers oleh Caela Carter. Aku baca ini buat salah satu kelas di Orilium Readathon. Buku ini tuh menarik karena banyak part yang relatable dan eye-opening buat aku karena menyangkut neurodiversity. Beberapa part bikin sedih, dan part lainnya bikin seneng. Buku ini meski labelnya middle grade menurut aku wajib dibaca oleh semua orang karena pesan-pesan yang ada di dalamnya ini berlaku buat semua usia.)


Fifty Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers by Caela Carter | Book Review


Length                        : 336 pages | 8H 22M

Narrator                      : Hope Newhouse

Date released              : October 19, 2021

Date read                    : August 4 – 14, 2022

Goodreads rating        : 4.33

My rating                    : 4.50

Keywords                   : middle grade, realistic fiction, neurodiversity, family, friendship, contemporary,

                                     own voice, mental health, school, ADHD, LGBTQIA+

Trigger warnings     : parent abandonment, drug addiction (mentioned), shouting, verbal abuse, violence

Where to read             : Storytel



No one can figure out what Gwendolyn Rogers's problem is--not her mom, or her teachers, or any of the many therapists she's seen. But Gwendolyn knows she doesn't have just one thing wrong with her: she has fifty-four.

At least, according to a confidential school report (that she read because she is #16. Sneaky, not to mention #13. Impulsive). So Gwendolyn needs a plan, because if she doesn't get these fifty-four things under control, she's not going to be able to go to horse camp this summer with her half-brother, Tyler.

But Tyler can't help her because there's only one thing "wrong" with him: ADHD.

And her best friend Hettie can't help her because there's nothing wrong with Hettie. She's perfect.

So Gwendolyn is hopeless until she remembers the one thing that helped her mother when her own life was out of control. Or actually, the twelve things. Can these Twelve Steps that cured her mother somehow cure Gwendolyn too?” (Goodreads)



This book is about a girl who wants to know what made her 54 problems in her life. She repeatedly mentions all those 54 problems every time she has conflict with other people. Like, when her teacher called her name, she didn’t immediately responded, then there were so many inner talks inside her head blaming herself such as : yes, I’m spacey, irresponsive, rude and has no filter. And personally I felt so sad listening to this audiobook, because it hurts when a kid blames themselves whenever the 54 problems resurfaces.

(Buku ini tentang seorang anak yang mencari tahu apa yang membuatnya punya 54 masalah dalam hidupnya. Dia berulang-ulang nyebutin kelimapuluh empat masalah itu setiap kali dia berkonflik dengan orang lain. Misalnya waktu gurunya manggil namanya kemudian dia gak segera jawab, dia otomatis bikin inner talk dalam dirinya kayak : iya gue ini spacey, irresponsive, rude dan gak ada filternya kalo ngomong. Jadi sampe sedih dengerin audiobook ini, karena dia kayak marah ke diri sendiri tiap kali kelimapuluh empat masalahnya itu muncul ke permukaan.)


This book shows us that a name or a label is important for someone, because they will feel lonely without it. I can relate to Gwendolyn’s feelings who constantly asked what label she can put into herself for all 54 problems she has. She believed there must be a name for someone with 54 problems in their life. When someone can’t explain what happened to them and what kind of human they are, they will feel angry and disappointed and lonely at the same time. They feel that the only human like this is them, and that’s so bad. So, if your friend or family member thinks they need to go to a doctor or therapist to find out what happens or what’s wrong with them, please support them. By saying : you are okay, nothing is bad about you, that’s only in your head, etc won’t make them better or solve their problems. Don’t let them wonder and guess what really happens. 

(Di buku ini juga ditunjukkan pentingnya mendapatkan sebuah nama atau label untuk seseorang, karena tanpa label itu kita kayak sendirian. Aku bisa relate banget dengan perasaan Gwendolyn yang terus bertanya-tanya label mana yang harus dia berikan pada dirinya yang punya 54 masalah itu. Gak bisa menyebutkan apa yang terjadi sama aku dan sebenernya aku ini manusia jenis apa itu kayak gak hanya nyebelin tapi juga bikin kesepian. Kayak aku sendiri yang kayak gini, gak normal, yang lainnya normal. Jadi menurut aku, kalau temen, saudara, atau anggota keluargamu merasa butuh ke dokter atau ke terapis, dukung dia, karena dengan bilang : kamu gapapa, ntar bakal sembuh sendiri, kamu normal, orang lain aja yang rese, gausah ke dokter dll gak bisa menyelesaikan masalah. Jangan biarin dia bertanya tanya dan menebak-nebak aja.)


Another thing showed by this book is the importance of freedom. In the last second half of this book there’s a chapter where Gwendolyn is free from rules and punishment which limit her freedom. The positive side from this is her brain is not overloaded, and when she finished one thing, she would go to her other duty to finish later. Prohibition or extreme rules or even punishment won’t discipline every one of us, because not all humans need to be limited, punished, given a to do list or given complex rules. There are people who will violate the rules by so many reasons including to only piss the rule-maker off. This reminds me of myself when I was 5 or 6. Nobody asked me to study hard, but I studied and read my books and did my school tasks diligently. But, when my parents were angry because I broke everything in the house and forbid me to do certain things, I did the forbidden things and broke more things in the house. When I did something they didn’t allow me to do, my brain forgot everything about the rules.

(Hal lain yang juga ditunjukkan oleh buku ini adalah pentingnya kebebasan. Di separuh bagian akhir buku ini ada chapter dimana Gwendolyn gak boleh diberi aturan/larangan/hukuman pokoknya gak boleh diatur. Dampaknya positif, otaknya jadi gak kayak overload, di saat dia sudah melakukan hal yang dia lakukan, dia bakal beralih ke hal lain yang perlu dia lakukan. Larangan atau peraturan yang ekstrim bahkan yang ada hukuman (omelan termasuk hukuman yaa) menurut aku gak bakal membuat semua orang jadi disiplin. Gak semua orang butuh dilarang, dihukum, dikasih to do list dan diberi aturan aneh-aneh. Beneran ada orang-orang yang diberi larangan dan peraturan, bakal melakukan larangan itu dengan berbagai alasan, termasuk untuk membuat sebel si pembuat aturan. Jadi inget waktu jaman aku sekolah, ortu gak pernah nyuruh belajar, tapi aku belajar sendiri sampe berjam-jam. Nah begitu ortu marah karena aku bolak balik mecahin gelas dan gak bisa diem dan ngelarang aku berulah, aku kayak tetep aja berulah. Aku masih inget waktu aku usil, otakku kayak mikir : gimana nih kalo kita lempar gelas itu, bakal pecah semua atau enggak? Aku lempar lah gelas itu tanpa inget larangan ortu. Kayak yang dilarang tuh malah dilupakan sama otakku.)


All those different needs and actions exist because every human’s brain is different. When someone is seen as slow learner compared to their friend who learns faster, there is nobody normal or abnomal here, since their brains work differently. Student B’s brain works cooperatively with the learning method in their school, while student A’s brain needs different method. And I think, parents shouldn’t say something like their child is stupid, because they will believe every label they receive from their parents or teachers, and if those labels are seen as problems then they will think that they are problematic. You can read this book to know how some labels like impatient, rude, lazy, socially inept, etc influence a kid.

(Kebutuhan dan perilaku yang berbeda itu terjadi karena otak setiap manusia bekerja secara berbeda pula. Seseorang yang di kelas dianggap lamban dan seseorang yang pintar di kelas itu gak ada yang normal dan gak ada yang abnormal, mereka hanya berbeda cara kerja otaknya. Kebetulan anak yang pintar ini cara kerja otaknya sesuai dengan metode pengajaran di kelasnya. Dan menurut aku, orang tua gak boleh bilang anaknya itu bodoh. Anak-anak akan percaya label yang diberikan orang tua atau gurunya kepadanya dan jika label itu dianggap sebagai masalah, maka anak itu bakal menganggap dirinya adalah masalah juga. selengkapnya bisa dibaca di buku Gwendolyn Rogers ini gimana efek dari label semacam impatient, rude, lazy, socially inept, dll terhadap seorang anak.)


Gende and age bias in education and health service. Expectations from family or environment are often related to gender and age, especially in education and health services. In Gwendolyn’s case, who is a girl, she is labeled as too emotional, immature and too noisy because female students are expected to behave calmly, not to show their emotions and only do good things. Compared to her brother, Gwendolyn constantly got punished and scolded by teachers. This expectation is not only based on gender but also age. When someone reaches certain ages, people will expect different stuff such as entering good school, graduating, entering cool university, getting married, having child, and dying peacefully. You need to know that neurodiversity is not only for kids or younger people, because as long as you have brain, you can still do and think differently from other people, and that doesn’t automatically make you invalid or problematic.

(Gender and age bias dalam pendidikan dan kesehatan. Ekspektasi yang diberikan oleh keluarga atau lingkungan seringkali berkaitan dengan gender dan usia, terutama dalam hal pendidikan dan kesehatan. Kayak dalam kasus Gwendolyn, yang seorang anak perempuan, dia dianggap terlalu emosional, immature dan terlalu berisik karena murid perempuan diharapkan tidak terlalu menunjukkan perasaan, kalem dan yang baik-baik aja, berkebalikan dengan anak laki-laki. Sehingga dibandingkan dengan saudara laki-lakinya, Gwendolyn hampir setiap hari kena marah guru karena ekspektasi ini. Terus perbedaan cara kerja otak ini gak hanya berlaku buat anak-anak ya, selama kamu masih punya otak, kamu bisa merasa kenapa gue mikir kayak gini, kenapa gue beda, dll, semua itu mungkin karena cara kerja otakmu yang berbeda. Bukan karena kamu bermasalah atau kamu invalid.)


Everyone has weakness and strength in their brain. And there are people who can find those easily, and there are more who can only see their weaknesses. When someone always is labeled as negative, they can see theirselves as negative too but it’s only the way their brain works can’t be understood by people around them. I think it’s better to focus on good traits of someone than the negative things about them such as lazy, rude, arrogant, anti-social, etc. by saying someone is (insert something negative here), you have contributed to shape that someone into a person you just mentioned in those adjectives. Your words, which you think only a joke, might be believed by someone, it can hurt them, it can change them, and it can shape them to the way your words affect them. So I love it when Gwendolyn’s mom always mentions positive words to Gwendolyn such as : you are great, you are so sweet, you are wonderful, you are important, etc, so Gwendolyn feels less hated and lonely in this world.

(Setiap orang punya kelemahan dan kelebihan di otaknya. Gak semua orang bisa menemukan apa kelebihan yang dia miliki. Karena selalu diberi cap negatif, seseorang bisa menganggap dirinya itu negatif atau orang jahat padahal cara kerja otaknya saja yang belum bisa dipahami. Daripada berfokus pada kata-kata malas, kasar, sombong, gak suka bergaul, dll mending kita berfokus pada hal-hal baik dari diri seseorang. Dengan mengatakan seseorang itu (insert something negative here), kamu sudah berkontribusi dalam membentuk seseorang menjadi orang yang kamu sebutkan itu. Because who knows, kata-kata kamu yang mungkin hanya bercanda, bisa aja dipercaya banget oleh seseorang. Jadi aku suka banget ibunya Gwendolyn yang selalu menyebutkan kata kata positif ke Gwendolyn kayak kamu ini hebat, kamu ini manis, you are wonderful, kamu ini penting, dll. Sehingga Gwendolyn merasa ga sepenuhnya dibenci atau disisihkan oleh manusia di muka bumi ini.)



This book taught me that how diversity is varied from how we look like until how we process things inside our body. We might only know the diversity by race, language, skin color and culture, but there one thing we can’t see in our daily life that works diversely. The term neurodiversity and how different brain works differently in this book, for me, is eye-opening. So, when someone has different opinions or they don’t like things that other people see as something should be done by “normal people”, there is nothing wrong with that person. Their brain only works differently from most of us. If you feel that in this place, you are so normal because you think the same way or similarly to other people, it doesn’t mean that you will feel like this in other places, and vice versa.

(Baca buku ini tuh jadi menyadarkan aku betapa beragamnya manusia. Selama ini juga mengenal keragaman dari tampilan luar kayak ras, bahasa, warna kulit, dan kebiasaan, padahal ada bagian yang gak keliatan yang juga beragam yaitu otak. Menurut aku keragaman cara kerja otak yang ditunjukkan dalam buku ini sangat eye opening buat aku. Jadi saat seseorang berbeda pendapat atau tidak menyukai hal-hal tertentu yang kamu anggap wajib dilakukan oleh orang “normal”, gak ada yang salah dengan orang tersebut. Hanya cara kerja otaknya yang berbeda dari kita. Jika di wilayah ini kamu merasa normal karena berpikiran dan berpendapat sama dengan semua orang, belum tentu di wilayah lain kamu juga bakal merasa begini, begitu pula sebaliknya.)


It can be related to books where people’s tastes are different because of their brains work differently. Each person will react differently to the same story, so it makes one book will have varied ratings from high to low. Liking a book other people’s hate doesn’t make you invalid, and disliking a book other people’s love doesn’t make you have the wrong brain. And, I believe everyone changes every time, so does their taste. If today you hate one book, you might like it 10 years later. But, this preferences aren’t stuff that make you better or worse when you change it. There is no normal or abnormal, only different.

(Terkait dengan buku, selera orang beda-beda karena neurodiversity. Setiap orang bakal bereaksi berbeda ke sebuah cerita yang sama, sehingga 1 buku bakal ada rating bagus dan rating rendah. Menyukai buku yang enggak disukai banyak orang pun gak membuat kamu invalid, gak suka buku yang disukai orang lain pun gak berarti ada yang salah dengan otak kamu. Karena aku yakin orang gak akan terus terusan sama, begitu pula dengan seleranya. Jika hari ini kamu gak suka buku ini, mungkin 10 tahun lagi kamu bakal suka. Tapi jangan membuat rasa suka dan enggak suka ini jadi menganggap dirimu lebih baik atau lebih buruk, g ada yang namanya normal atau abnormal, hanya berbeda.)



I listened to the audiobook on Storytel and I love how the author read the story which made me automatically love Gwendolyn and I want to go inside this book to help her. There are many parts where people shouted to Gwendolyn, but the narrator didn’t really shout which is a good thing. Even though the shouting parts are not really shouting, I felt uncomfortable listening to them. So, if shoutings and similar stuff make you uncomfortable, it’s better to read the book. The narrator has done a great job to bring each character differently such as Mardy, Gwen’s mom, Tyler, Gwen’s friends, teachers and Doctor Nessa. I can follow the story easily even though there are conversations where different character talked, and I set 1,5x speed for the app.

(Aku denger audiobooknya di Storytel, dan aku suka gimana narrator membawakan ceritanya yang membuat aku langsung bisa suka sama Gwendolyn dan pengen bisa masuk ke bukunya dan bantuin dia. Banyak part Gwendolyn teriak dan diteriakin, namun tentu aja narratornya gak teriak beneran. Meskipun begitu aku udah ngerasa kayak gak nyaman gitu denger orang berdebat dan saling neriakin. Jadi, mungkin kalau kamu nganggep teriakan yang gak beneran teriak bisa sangat mengganggu, mungkin kamu mending baca e-book atau buku fisiknya aja. Terus naratornya bisa berbeda-beda membawakan dialog dari karakter yang berbeda, kayak Mardy, ibunya Gwendolyn, Tyler, temen-temen Gwendolyn, guru-gurunya hingga Dokter Nessa. Kayak, tanpa dijelasin ini siapa yang ngomong, aku bisa ngikutin ceritanya meski dengan speed 1,5.)


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