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You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems About Boys
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You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems About Boys

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  714 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
In 9 stories and 15 poems, Sharon G. Flake provides insight into the minds of a diverse group adolescent African American males. There's Tow-Kaye, getting married at age 16 to love of his life, who's pregnant. He knows it's the right thing to do, but he's scared to death. James writes in his diary about his twin brother's terrible secret, which threatens to pull James down ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Jump At The Sun (first published February 16th 2010)
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May 14, 2010 Xemilyx rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-goodness
Sharon Flake has great narrative voice. No question. But what makes her books so significant is the subject matter. She's just plain writing about stuff no one else is writing about. Like wanting to hook up with an older woman or trying to help out a 9-year-old who knows more about the streets than you do.

Sharon Flake definitely writes about issues--AIDS, suicide, sex abuse, and gangs in this volume alone. But she's never preachy, and I'm trying to figure out how she does it. But there's no one
Apr 16, 2013 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crystal Hansen, LS 538. Flake, S. G. (2010). You don't even know me: Stories and poems about boys. New York: Jump at the Sun. Genre: Short Stories. Print book. Selected from Books and Authors database. Highly recommend.

From a female perspective, it's hard to say whether this (also female) author accurately captures the male point-of-view, but I can definitively say that Sharon Flake presents characters who have heart. "You Don't Even Know Me" is a collection of short stories about various Afric
Apr 06, 2013 Rhayna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a book that combines poems and stories of different African american boys. I didn't really enjoy this book much but I only read some stories and finished it anyways but read the poems. I only enjoyed Two-Kaye's story. It was about him getting married at seventeen years old and his girlfriend was pregnant also. A lot of thoughts raced through his mind because he did not know if what he was doing was okay. He knew he had to do something because he had a child on its way and he had to ...more
Trevor Fitzpatrick
This book was definitely different. Although I couldn't really relate to the stories, the book made me think of how it would be to live in those boys' shoes. I didn't really enjoy the poems because they were forgettable and didn't leave as much of an impact on me as the stories did. I felt like I was in confession corner reading the poems but the stories seemed to have meaning to them. There is a story in the book, where a kid gets his girlfriend pregnant at age 16 and marries her, and the story ...more
Stephanie Butzer
Mar 14, 2013 Stephanie Butzer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good book! I would recommend it to any middle or high school boy. Girls will like it, but I feel guys would get a better understanding from this book. It is written in a man’s perspective; it connects with a boy reader. The poems in this story consist of problems in everyday life. Tow-Kaye is getting married at the age of sixteen because his girlfriend is pregnant. Tyler explains what it is like to be a player and use girls. La’Ron tells the readers, he is infected with HIV. Eric ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban, male, short-stories
This was easy to get through with a mix of poetry/rhyme and short stories about African American boys. She covers everything from unplanned pregnancy and teen weddings (because of the unplanned pregnancy), race lines, obesity, foster care, suicide, and the last story, and most interesting, about older women and younger "men".

Boys would feel accomplished reading this, with a poems after each short story or find something interesting to discuss or use for a class. And, as a way to express themsel
 Imani ♥ ☮
This book was pretty okay. Very reminiscent of some of Flake's other books like "Who would I be without him" and others. The only thing was, like in the other book I mentioned, i kinda wanted some kind of action in there. I hate to say this, but I kinda wanted some kind of tragedy to happen in at least one of the stories just to make me feel something. I liked the story about suicide( :| ), the poem about the suburbs(represent), and the last story the best and even though I am a girl, I could re ...more
This book was overall a very good book, but I did get a bit confused when it came to changing from story to story. I was liking the first story but then once it got into the middle of the book I got lost. My favorite part in this book was when La'Ron had to tell his uncle about his HIV. The story got in so deep once it hit this point. You could feel La'Rons pain and his feelings when he talked about this.. Overall i like the book and suggest others to read as well.
This is a good book for boys. Flake writes about black boys with a strong voice. When I did this as a read-aloud in my class, they were highly engaged.
This wasn't quite up to what I was expecting, but it was a solid read nonetheless. It's full of different short stories and poems about the kind of situations young people of color have to deal with growing up in cities. It's a solid read in terms of the diversity it attempts to bring in as far as subject matter and some of the real situations kids have to deal with. However, I found it somewhat lacking in terms of character development and authenticity. Maybe if the stories were longer and had ...more
Brian Dansby
Jun 13, 2013 Brian Dansby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brian Dansby
Block: 6/14/13

“You Don’t Even Know Me: Stories and Poems About Boys”

Sharon Flake’s book “You Don’t Even Know Me” demonstrates some of the quick thinking and responsible decisions that teen males have to make while they are struggling with identity. The short stories and poems written in this book put teens in very tough situations that they need to find their way out of without making bad decisions which is everyday life. Other stories help them to understand how to make responsible
Jan 25, 2017 Rayna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful stories of boys growing up and learning how to make their way as men in this world. Sharon Flake does such a great job of bringing this world that is so near my own and yet so very different to life in a way that makes me yearn to reach out and hug them as I do my own son.
Feb 27, 2014 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boys that nobody knows
Recommended to Kate by: HCL
Shelves: teen-fic, poetry, ischool
Annotation: This collection of poems and short stories is set in the present-day, urban, east coast U.S. and told from the perspectives of a variety of African American, teenage boys. Topics run the gamut from teen pregnancy and early marriage to robbery and dangerous neighborhoods, homelessness, gangs, suicide, sexual abuse, HIV infection, interracial relationships, and single parenthood. Many of the poems deal with the turbulence of young love and are written in free verse, in the first person ...more
Jan 01, 2017 Stacie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was... interesting? I'm not sure that's really the best word to use. It's a collection of poems and stories from the perspective of young (mid to upper teens) urban black males. It's one of those things I picked up because it was so different from my own experiences, but I'm not really sure how I'd rate it. It's... alien. But my mind is still turning over the bits and pieces, shaking them, chewing on the corners, trying to grab hold of it. So I guess, yes, I'd recommend it as it's doing exa ...more
Sep 28, 2016 Maya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
Love this author. love the way this book was written. very realistic.
Angie Jones
You Don’t Know Me is a collection of short stories and poems about the struggles faced by African American young males. Tow-Kaye is a 17 year old boy who marries the love of his life who happens to be pregnant. Even though he loves her, he has second thoughts on being married and being a father so young. Then there is Jeffery, who is bounced around from one home to the next because he can’t stay out of trouble. He finally is taken in by his Aunt Philomena who keeps him the longest, a year, until ...more
Jul 02, 2015 S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A companion to Flake's Who Am I Without Him?, this collection of short stories and poetry provides perspective on the concerns of urban male teenagers, ranging from sexual temptation and teenage pregnancy to HIV, suicide, racial identity, violent neighborhoods and family loyalty. “Scared to Death” tells the story of a 16-year-old boy facing cold feet as he takes responsibility for his pregnant girlfriend. “Gettin' Even” explores the effect of neighborhood violence and the desire for revenge on y ...more
Dec 15, 2016 Averi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leeah George
"You Don’t Even Know Me" is a collection of short stories and poems, that are told from the perspective of young teenage black men. These stories have similarities but many differences as well. From a young teenage boy, or should I say man, getting ready to marry his pregnant girlfriend, in comparison to a story about twin brothers, where one of them happened to have committed suicide due to a situation where he couldn’t control. Due to traumatic circumstances, the brother has been having suici ...more
Naomi Yaddof
Jun 27, 2015 Naomi Yaddof rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sharon Flake uses poetry and short stories to instantly transport her readers into urban neighborhoods and the lives, experiences, and cultural idioms of black teens. Using a cautionary voice and realism she educates her readers weaving stories around life on the streets, survival, sex, teen pregnancy, AIDS, obesity, gangs, and revenge. “Gettin’ Even” tells the story of a suburban teen who, while spending the summer with his grandmother in the old neighborhood he only visited as a child, is seek ...more
Rachel Bachtel
Jul 01, 2015 Rachel Bachtel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

You don’t Even know Me written by Sharon G. Flake is the companion novel to Flakes book Who Am I Without Him? Much like Who Am I Without Him? the novel You don’t Even know Me is a collection of short stories and poems exploring the complexities of adolescence. The stories and poems have a multi-cultural focus with the perspective in the stories and poems from the view point of the young men. The characters in the stories are often faced with difficult situations. The adult situations the charact
Calvin Gardner
Mar 03, 2014 Calvin Gardner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brendan Mcmahon
Apr 21, 2014 Brendan Mcmahon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 02, 2011 Henry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You Don’t Even Know Me
Short Stories about boys’ lives
Ever think about what other teenage boys have to do in their lives? Well in you Don’t Even Know Me by Sharon G. Flake you find out. It is incredible book with 9 short stories about teenage boys’ lives. Each boy has a different situation. Tow- Kea is 16 and getting married to the girl he has loved since he was 4, and she is pregnant. James knows the terrible secret to why his brother killed himself, and he is having trouble dealing with it.
David Johnson
I just got done reading the book, “You Don’t Even Know Me” by Sharon G. Flake. This book is an interesting book, and I liked it. It's about boys in poverty who live in Philadelphia. There is one story that was real interesting. It was about a young boy, named Tow- Kaye, who was sixteen. He was getting married, because he got a girl pregnant. The girl's name was Cindella, and she and Tow-Kaye grew up together. He was scared and wanted to run away. He finally realized he made the mistake, and he ...more
Sep 23, 2013 Avik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really did enjoy reading this book. I believe Flake did a really good job of articulating these stories of young men and their struggles. This book was a recommended to me because I read You Hear Me? and if you read one after the other, you can see they are very similar. Like I stated before I enjoy learning about how people struggle and how they overcome that struggle and become stronger from that. It inspires me to grow past my troubles and hardships.

Many of the stories and poems were mea
Gail Grim
Jul 01, 2015 Gail Grim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This companion to Who Am I Without Him? Short Stories About Girls and the Boys in Their Lives leaves the reader with a clarity regarding life as a young adult male in an urban culture. Flake’s characters in these short stories and poems are faced with a myriad of dysfunctional situations forcing these boys to make decisions larger than most. A sixteen year old marrying his pregnant girlfriend, a twin contemplates suicide after his brother takes his own life, and a son whose obese father makes it ...more
Ms. Ramsborg
Oct 12, 2012 Ms. Ramsborg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Lexile: 520
I enjoyed the variety of poems and short stories in this book about boys living in urban Philadelphia. The author describes each scene so well that I could picture it clearly in my mind such as Eric's story about enjoying the city life in North Philly on the Fourth of July (sneaking into pools, meeting girls, crashing neighborhood BBQs, and watching fireworks).

I liked this book because the stories seemed real and genuine. The situations the main characters get into are difficult but
Oct 27, 2016 Erick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tow-Kaye is about sixteen or seventeen years old. He is in love with Cindella. Tow-Kaye is getting married with her and got her pregnant. But he is scared to death. Cindella is pregnant at the age of sixteen. She got married with Tow-Kaye. Cindella is moving in with Tow-Kaye's family. The plot of the story is taking place in Tow-Kaye's house,at a church, and at a hospital. The conflict was that Tow-Kaye, getting married at the age of sixteen with the love of his life, that he got pregnant. The ...more
I highly recommend this collection of short stories and poems about what it is like to be a young black man growing up in the inner city. Sharon G. Flake writes about teen characters who are facing some very serious situations (violence, poverty, obesity, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, etc), and she does it in a way that makes the reader feel empathy rather than sympathy. I think that this is one mark of a great writer. My students have always loved her writing (especially The Skin I'm In), and I hav ...more
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Sharon G. Flake is the author of five books, The Skin I'm In (1998), Money Hungry (2002), Begging for Change (2003), Who Am I Without Him? Short Stories About Boys and the Girls in Their Lives (2004), Bang! (Sept. 2005), and her latest novel The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street (2007).

Her work is used in public and private schools around the nation, from elementary to high school, and
More about Sharon G. Flake...

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