The Orange Houses
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The Orange Houses

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  619 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Tamika Sykes, AKA Mik, is hearing impaired and way too smart for her West Bronx high school. She copes by reading lips and selling homework answers, and looks forward to the time each day when she can be alone in her room drawing. She's a tough girl who mostly keeps to herself and can shut anyone out with the click of her hearing aid. But then she meets Fatima, a teenage r...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Speak (first published March 31st 2009)
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Samantha Heare
Teaser: How doing the right thing can go terribly wrong.
The Orange Houses is a 2010 Best Book for YA, and fits perfectly into the category of Urban Realism. In this quick paced story we meet three New York teens living in the impoverished Bronx. Jimmy, an eighteen year old war veteran who is affectionately called Crazy Jimmy, fifteen-year-old Tamika Sykes, who has been partially deaf for over ten years, and Fatima Esperer, a sixteen year old illegal refugee from an African nation, who has risked...more
Erica
I was very excited for this one after reading Paul Griffin's Stay With Me. Sadly, this one did not live up to the expectations I had for it.

I was not crazy about this one being told in third person. It made the story very hard to get into as it was so disjointed. The story was also told from 3 POVs, and that was too much for this book. I liked the idea of it, but considering the book was only 150 pages, it was too little for each character.

Most of the characters were great. I had a bit of an iss...more
Deanna
Realistic fiction, immigration, friendship.

The book begins with a one page description of Jimmi Sixes who has just returned from the middle east and has been honorably discharged. The very last sentence on this page says, "An hour after Jimmi wrote the poem the vigilantes hung him."

Each chapter is from the perspective of either Jimmi, Mik or Fatima. After each chapter heading there is an update stating the time, place and how many days before the hanging. This continual reminder of the upcoming...more
Alicia
While the book jacket explains that there is an explosive event that rocks Mick, Jimmi, and Fatima's world as well as their community, I felt that the jagged writing style and multiple perspectives of the three characters shattered what impact the scene might have had.

Each of the characters themselves could be three separate books about their plights that I would be interested to read, but when they intersect nothing that explosive ensues or at least not that that I'm invested to emotionally in...more
Jennifer Varela
The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin is the story of Tamika Sykes. This girl is hearing impaired due to Meningitis which she had when she was five. During the book, she is attending high school at West Bronx High School and her daily life consists of reading lips and she also earns money by selling homework answers. She doesn’t have any friends at all until she meets Fatima. Fatima is a refugee who sells newspapers. Soon enough, these girls become best friends and end up forming another friendship...more
David Korsak
This book is about three people who live in orange house which are in the projects of New York City. The projects are tainted with poverty and human weakness. The three people are Jimmi Sixes, Tamika Sykes, and Fatima Esperer. Each of them tells their own story about living in the projects and each chapter in this book alternates between the three. Jimmi is extremely solitary and his suffering from depression. He is like this because his girlfriend committed suicide after her late miscarriage of...more
Mitzy Rodriguez
Tamika, a young girl with hearing disabilities has a reputation of doing other people’s homework and school and keeps her hearing aids turned off to block out the world around her. Jimmi, a war veteran that is lost in society. He has a drug addiction, his girlfriend committed suicide and is trying to find some hope, some motivation to do better with his life. Then there is Fatima, an illegal immigrant from Africa that has come to the United States with hope and faith of seeing the statue of libe...more
Anna Larson
This story is about Mik Sykes, who is partially deaf but does not mind, because this way she can shut off all the threats that surround her. Mik lives in the projects with her mother, where meets Jimmi Sixes and Fatima who change her world forever. They all share a love of art, and Mik’s family takes Fatima in because of her kindness and steadfast positivity. A series of events that the three friends go through are all terribly sad, such as Mik being stabbed by a mean girl at school, and when Ji...more
Karlan
The author of TEN MILE RIVER has written another short, intense novel set in the Bronx. Tamika, a poor,overweight, hard of hearing teen, Jimmi, a slightly older homeless war veteran, and Fatima, a mutilated illegal teen trying to survive each tell their stories little by little. The tension builds as the reader expects disaster for the three intelligent young people.
Yuri Toledo

"The Orange House" is a book written by the author Paul Griffin, which talks about a story that happens in West Bronx.

Not many books will tell you the end of the story on the first page. The prelude to this novel tells of the end, the hanging of Jimmi Sixes, a war veteran from a row of orange houses in New York. After Jimmi received a mandatory discharge from service and returned home, he was hung on the streets of his own neighborhood by a mob. Three youths, Jimmi Sixes, Tamika Sykes and Fatima...more
Maddie Sharp
The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin is the story of Tamika Sykes who is hearing impaired due to Meningitis when she was five. During the books she is attending high school at West Bronx High School. She lives by reading lips and sells homework answers. She has no friends until she meets Fatima, a refugee who sells newspapers. These two girls become the best of friends and together they befriend Jimmi, a homeless veteran. This trio unites to change their community in the Orange Houses. This is an a...more
Donalyn
Three teens with difficult lives form a strange friendship and look for beauty and hope in spite of desperate circumstances. This was a powerful book without easy answers or a happy ending-- realistic in its portrayal of poverty and prejudice.
The Loft
Jimmi, Mik, and Fatima. Before the hanging:

Jimmi is a street poet. Jimmi is a street junkie. It just depends on who you talk to. If you see him skateboarding and hear him reciting his verse, he’s without doubt a poet. But if you know that he’s already been to a desert war and back at the age of 18, and his ex-girlfriend killed herself, you also know there are memories he just has to block out.



Tamika, who prefers “Mik” that rhymes with Nick as opposed to Meek-a (yuck), is partially deaf. She wear...more
Doret
15 yr old Tamika (Mik) Sykes is partially deaf. She likes to turn off her hearing aid and shut the would out.

18 yr old Jimmi Sixes is a war veteran, trying to find a reason to live

16 yr old Fatima is a refugee from Africa. All she wants is a new beginning and to see the Statue of Liberty.


I didn't connect with these characters. This disconnection has a lot to do with my not believing the Black characters created by Griffin a white author. A characters believability is subjective. When a Black cha...more
Annie
This is easily one of the most heart wrenching books that I've read in a while. Like Looking for Alaska, each chapter begins with a backward countdown to a day a few weeks in the future where one of the three main characters—a mentally ill 19-year-old Iraq war veteran—is attacked by a lynch mob. Pretty intense. The story is told from the perspective of three different characters: war vet Jimmy, a deaf teenager Mik who has bum hearing aids and essentially hasn't talked in about a decade because s...more
Chris
Despite some serious flaws, this is a book worth reading and talking about. Tamika lives in a housing project known as the Orange Houses in the Bronx. She lost much of her hearing due to an illness when she was a child. Now in high school, she prefers to keep her cheap government-bought hearing aids turned off rather than deal with the static both electronic and human that surrounds her inner-city life. Fatima is an illegal alien just arrived from the refugee camps in a unnamed, war-torn African...more
Terri
The opening poem, the forward, and the Chapter 1 heading to "The Orange Houses" will pull in teen readers immediately and won't let go. A book talker would only need to read these first pages to reel readers in. Add to this the slimness of the book, the outstanding writing, the contemporary relevance of the piece, and the unforgettable characters - and you've got a five star young adult read!

This is a beautifully written piece - from the poems of Jimmi Sixes, to the poetic narrative, to the cha...more
Lesly
*The Orange Houses* is about 3 people. A girl name Tamika, who is deaf. Another girl name Fatima, who is a refugee. A boy name JImmi, who is a war veteran. They all became friends. There is this girl who thinks that Tamika is stealing her man, so her crew bagan cxhasing her with boxcutters in their hands. They chase her through the woods, when JImmi showed up and saved her. Jimmi brought her to his cave, so she can be safe. He went to find Fatima, because she too isn't safe with the girls crew t...more
Christie
Jimmi, Mik, and Fatima. Before the hanging:

Jimmi is a street poet. Jimmi is a street junkie. It just depends on who you talk to. If you see him skateboarding and hear him reciting his verse, he’s without doubt a poet. But if you know that he’s already been to a desert war and back at the age of 18, and his ex-girlfriend killed herself, you also know there are memories he just has to block out.



Tamika, who prefers “Mik” that rhymes with Nick as opposed to Meek-a (yuck), is partially deaf. She wear...more
Ms. McCall
Tamika (Mik), Jimmy Sixes and Fatima are drawn together through circumstance and respect, but what holds their friendship together is oppression and despair. Paul Griffin uses the modern day streets of the Bronx as the unforgiving backdrop of our three characters lives, each living in a varying state of poverty, and each battling their own tribulations. Mik has been near deaf since childhood, Jimmy is desperate to kick his post-war drug habit and Fatima is trying to save up to see her family ba...more
Jillian Friedman Friedman
Interesting . . . The book is set in what seems to be the not-too-distant future in NYC. It's unclear exactly what has happened in the world, but vague-ish references are made to an escalation of conflicts in the Middle East, increased conflicts w/immigration from "terrorist nations," and out-of-control inflation. The main character Tamika ("Mik") is mostly deaf, an artist, and outcast in her school. She prefers the world quiet, noises blocked out by her awful hearing aids. Mik is introduced to...more
Yvonne Powderly
I toted this book around for a couple of weeks as I felt it my duty to read it so I could make a report. Then we have a few snow days and I was at home. I found a bunch of books that I wanted to read and so "The Orange Houses" remained shelved, or should I say 'bagged'. Eventually I felt guilty and took the book out intending to skim. I read the first few short chapters and was hooked.
-The Orange Houses- by Paul Griffin is a disturbing story revolving around three marginalized teens: Mika, a 15-...more
Shannon
I enjoyed reading Griffin's story. It was an interesting read, not like any other book I've read before. The three main characters are very distinct and different from each other. Their lives intersect as a result of extraordinary circumstances. This story is really about the qualities that make us unique as individuals and how they contribute to our friendships. Told in third person omniscient, each chapter examines the feelings and thoughts of one of the characters. Tamika is a lonely deaf tee...more
Andrew Miller

The Orange Houses effectively portrays the life in the eyes of three people. Tamika, more commonly known as Mik, is partially deaf and must use hearing aids. Fatima is an illegal immigrant who is in love with America and the freedoms she has, but still longs to see her family in Africa as she searches for her citizenship. Jimmie is a war veteran who is a drug addict, most likely to cope with the stress of death that he dealt with during the war. This story brings up many cultural issues such as...more
Summer Cull
Tamika is deaf. Not completely deaf, but she has to wear hearing aids in order to hear completely. She mostly just shuts them off so she doesn’t have to hear the sounds of the world. Fatima is an illegal immigrant who is infatuated with the freedom of America. Jimmie is a war veteran, 19 years old, and the memories of death still haunt him. The three unusual allies are all artist, in their own way, but they have the capabilities of creating something truly beautiful. But in a world where indivi...more
Carrie
Eh.

"The Orange Houses" by Paul Griffin is the first book by him that I have read. I ordered a class set of this book because it was on an ALA recommendation list. It caught my eye because it contained a hard-of-hearing character; as a teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, I'm always on the lookout for books with characters my students might identify with. So, being a good teacher, I decided to read this book before putting it into the hands of my students.

It wasn't bad. I had a HARD ti...more
Evette
The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin. This story talks about the lives of three teenagers living in the projects of the Bronx, New York. They all have experienced hardship in their lives and must face adversity in the communities in which they are outcasts. Jimmie Sixes is an 18 year-old mentally unstable war veteran who is dealing with drug addiction. After he came back from the war, Jimmie found out that his wife had committed suicide after having a miscarriage on her last term of birth. Mik Syke...more
Taylor Destito
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angel Romero
This novel intertwines the lives of three teenagers living in the projects of the Bronx, New York. They all have experience hardship in their lives and must face adversity in the communities in which they are outcasts. Jimmie Sixes is an 18 year-old mentally unstable war veteran who is dealing with drug addiction. After he came back from the war, Jimmie found out that his wife had committed suicide after having a miscarriage on her last term of birth. His only outlet in this world is poetry. Mik...more
bjneary
It took me awhile to get around to reading this book, but I was determined since it was listed on 2010 Best Books for Young Adults...
All of the characters were important, even Shanelle and her gang as Griffin tells of harsh urban life in the Bronx, where three people's lives intersect, they become friends, and the environment just crushes people. I want to say this book has a redemptive ending, but it falls a short---but that is just life and Griffin wants us to know about living on the mean str...more
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Paul Griffin lives, writes, and trains dogs in New York City. His previous novel, The Orange Houses, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults Top Ten, an International Reading Association 2010 Notable Book for a Global Society, a Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Book of 2009, and an Amelia Bloomer Project Award winner.
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