Listen to this book! Seriously! A+ for the collage of song, sound and speech that is the audiobook. Now, for the book itself...
Sunny is 12, and her biListen to this book! Seriously! A+ for the collage of song, sound and speech that is the audiobook. Now, for the book itself...
Sunny is 12, and her biggest plans for the summer involve winning the big prize for memorizing bible verses at vacation bible school and swimming at the city pool and getting tan with her friends. Then "the invaders" come to town and begin mobilizing all the Negroes to vote and everything becomes crazy. The whole country begins calling it the Freedom Summer, the pool shuts down, and Sunny begins to realize there is more going on outside her comfortable family's life...
But Sunny's version of the Freedom Summer isn't the only one out there in her town, and another young teen named Raymond is seeing his own 1964: One with discrimination and guns, and danger...
Great multiple narrator historific about Jim Crow and the Freedom Summer wherein Sunny is relatively bratty and entitled, and her brother Gilette is a little bland, Ray is passionate and sympathetic. The audiobook is engaging, but the book itself is looooong, and seeing the size might be a hard sell for kids. Still, worth it for those willing to tackle historical fiction....more
Growing up in Bellmont, a poor city where the Irish Mob rules everything the black gangs don't, Finley learned early to keep his head down and his4.5
Growing up in Bellmont, a poor city where the Irish Mob rules everything the black gangs don't, Finley learned early to keep his head down and his mouth shut. All he ever cared about was playing basketball and hanging out with his girlfriend Erin -- in that order. When his basketball coach asks him to help a transfer student whose parents were murdered adapt to life in Bellmont, Finley reluctantly agrees, but he quickly realizes this will not be an easy task.
The student is a black kid from California who calls himself Boy21 and who tells Finley he's only visiting from outer space and will be returning there very soon. If the only problem was that the guy was crazy, Finley wouldn't really care, but Boy21 is also a nationally recruited, insanely talented point guard...which is the same spot Finley plays. If he helps Boy21 get 'better,' Finley will lose his spot on the basketball team, but if he doesn't, he's allowing his friend to suffer. How can he choose between a friend and the game that means everything to him?
Although this premise might sound far-fetched and dauntingly alien, those who are willing to give it a chance will find Boy21 to be a great look at friendship and the stories we tell ourselves and others. Good choice for teen guys, especially those who like basketball or who feel like they don't fit in....more
Adonis is an ultra-smart, ultra-motivated teenager, loved by all of his teachers and destined for greatness despite being in a wheelchair. Autumn is hAdonis is an ultra-smart, ultra-motivated teenager, loved by all of his teachers and destined for greatness despite being in a wheelchair. Autumn is his total opposite - a skilled athlete who can barely read and who makes her teachers despair. Despite their differences, Autumn is convinced that she loves Adonis, and she's going to make him fall for her too, no matter how much work it takes...
I liked The Skin I'm In by Flake, but did not think this was very good at all. Adonis was a ridiculously conceited jerk, and Autumn was an insane stalker, so it was hard to empathize with or root for either of them. The Peaches/Adonis being cousins subplot could have been interesting and given Adonis depth, but it fell flat. Autumn's struggles with reading and math were the only things that really felt authentic and fleshed out, and I wish the book had focused more on that and less on her crush on Adonis.
The writing had some real problems too, which I found strange for such an established writer. Adonis's internal monologue was stilted and robotic, and the way events were presented was incredibly unclear (not just when Flake was writing in Autumn's voice either...) I had to re-read multiple passages to understand what had just happened. As far as Adonis goes, there could be a really great book written about someone with a disability who overcompensates by trying to be perfect at everything & holding everyone else to incredibly high standards, but this isn't that book.
I guess some teen girls might like this, but it won't be my first choice to recommend....more
Everyone knows princeses are supposed to be 'good and pure,' so that when they are inevitably locked up in a tower guarded by a vicious beast, only3.5
Everyone knows princeses are supposed to be 'good and pure,' so that when they are inevitably locked up in a tower guarded by a vicious beast, only the bravest, most handsome prince will be able to save them. And then they'll live happily ever after. The end.
Princess Adrienne thinks that story is really dumb. Not only does she think it's a bad financial decision to spend tons of money on a tower, she doesn't see why she needs to be saved at all. In fact, she has a sneaking suspicion SHE could be a hero...
Very similar to Patricia Wrede's dealing with dragons series, and a good read-alike for Giants Beware. The feminism/equality aspects aren't subtle, but there's enough humor and action to keep things from being didactic....more
Unlike her twin sister Sherise, Kiki's always been a good girl. She's proud of her good grades, but since she's kind of shy and tomboyish, she can't hUnlike her twin sister Sherise, Kiki's always been a good girl. She's proud of her good grades, but since she's kind of shy and tomboyish, she can't help feeling like she just doesn't fit in. Kiki is sure that if she had a boyfriend, or even some real girl friends, she would stop feeling so lonely. Even though everyone says Jackson is a player, Kiki can't help wondering if he might actually like her. And what about Tia, the girl who Kiki is supposed to tutor? Could she be the friend Kiki's looking for?
Although limited by the hi/lo format, this book tells an engaging story that will appeal to teen girls, especially those who loved the Bluford High series. Not all of the messages in the story are positive (drugs and drinking are presented in a realistically casual way, the main character is told she needs to be more feminine if she ever wants a man, and no one seems to disagree with that assertion), and there's plenty of teenage drama, but the hopeful ending keeps it from being too much of an angst-fest.
Kotlowitz follows two brothers, 9-year-old Pharoah and 11-year-old Lafeyette, as they go about their daily lives in the gang-plagued housing projectsKotlowitz follows two brothers, 9-year-old Pharoah and 11-year-old Lafeyette, as they go about their daily lives in the gang-plagued housing projects of late '80s Chicago. Although the book is old and the housing projects have since been demolished, most of the issues it discusses - drugs, gangs, lack of education and resources, etc. - are still being faced by the urban poor today. The characters, especially Pharoah and Lafeyette, are shown in such a sympathetic way that you can't help rooting for them, and when you finish the book, you'll probably be left wondering how they're doing now, 20 years later. Eye-opening and important....more
Lately, everything has been going wrong for 18-year-old Nomiya. He's been expelled from school, he's struggling with guilt over his involvement in a mLately, everything has been going wrong for 18-year-old Nomiya. He's been expelled from school, he's struggling with guilt over his involvement in a motorcycle accident that left a girl disabled, and worst of all, he was kicked off the basketball team. Basketball was his life, and without it he feels aimless and depressed.
While visiting the hospital one day, he hears the sound of dribbling from a nearby court and goes to check it out, only to discover Kiyoharu - a guy whose passion for basketball and competitive nature rivals Nomiya's own...and who happens to be in a wheelchair. During the ensuing pick-up games and grudge matches, polite wheelchair basketball games and down-and-dirty foul fests, the two form an unlikely alliance that's driven as much by competition as friendship.
Real is lot more mature and realistic (in both story and art) than most manga. The artwork is very impressive, the story is unexpected and can be appreciated even by non- sports fans, and it's great to see a character of color and a person with a disability in the two lead roles. There is one scene of full-frontal male nudity, but it's not gratuitous, and it shouldn't stop anyone from recommending this to basketball fans, teenage guys, people who like realistic graphic novels, and/or anyone who is looking for for a unique read....more
A year before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, a teenage girl did the same thing. This book tells the story of thaA year before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, a teenage girl did the same thing. This book tells the story of that teenager, Claudette Colvin, and how her act of rebellion was all but forgotten while Mrs. Parks became a household name.
Large, well-chosen B&W illustrations complement the informative text, which contains not only the author's narration, but also many sections presented in Colvin's own voice. This book is one more example of the high quality writing and production present in modern teen nonfiction. Between this book, Hitler Youth, Us & Them, Gay America, & other titles, I almost wonder why people are still reading adult nonfiction ;-)...more
After Summer's mom was killed in a robbery, the only person she had left in the world was her older sister Trish. They spent their childhood in a grouAfter Summer's mom was killed in a robbery, the only person she had left in the world was her older sister Trish. They spent their childhood in a group home, but on Summer's 16th birthday, Trish is finally allowed to become Summer's legal guardian.
For the first time in years, Summer has a real home, and to make things even better, it's nice. Although Summer loves her luxurious new lifestyle, filled with designer clothes and fancy cars, she doesn't like that Trish gets the money by doing illegal things for her boyfriend Boss. When things start getting dangerous, Summer has some tough decisions to make, and if she makes the wrong ones, she might not live to see another day.
The writing could have been edited a bit; there were some random POV changes, Summer's narrative voice kept changing, it was a little repetitive, etc, but the story was solid. Lots of suspense, romance and action make this a good choice for teens who want relatively clean - but not boring - street lit. ...more
After winning a big basketball game, the star players of the Hazelwood High Tigers decide to have a few drinks to celebrate. Even though he’s been driAfter winning a big basketball game, the star players of the Hazelwood High Tigers decide to have a few drinks to celebrate. Even though he’s been drinking, Andy Jackson thinks he’s fine to drive. It turns out that he’s not… When he crashes the car he’s driving, he is forced to listen and watch as his best friend Rob burns to death.
As time goes by, Andy feels worse and worse about what happened that night. His girlfriend Keisha tries to help him, but in his heart he knows that it’s his fault Rob died. His family and friends are no help either, because no one can undo what happened. As Andy’s depression gets stronger, he desperately tries to find a way to get his life back to normal. Will he be able to find one?
A bit heavy-handed, but the brisk & unconventional format, relatable characters and shock ending will keep younger teen readers hooked....more
A compelling look at men who were sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were only teens.
This book doesn't try to excuse the horribleA compelling look at men who were sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were only teens.
This book doesn't try to excuse the horrible crimes that the boys committed, nor does it try to claim that they are innocent. Instead, it asks why some people are sentenced to death while others are given life in prison and still others are allowed to walk free because of plea bargaining or testifying for the prosecution.
The last point was the one that really resonated with me. If there are three defendants in a case and two of them are brothers, of course those two will band together to put all of the blame on the third guy. And yet, some of the guys in this book were sent to death row based on testimony like that. It's a scary thought.
Overall, this is an brief but interesting look at our flawed legal system and prison life....more
This was a sweet and hopeful story about friendship, family and growing up, but I have to wonder how much today's teen/tween readers will relate to thThis was a sweet and hopeful story about friendship, family and growing up, but I have to wonder how much today's teen/tween readers will relate to the book's Tupac-worship, seeing as he died when they were only toddlers.
I'm sure many teens still listen to his music, but do they idolize him the way the 1990s teens in this book do? If not, will they be able to empathize with the characters' hero-worship anyway? I'm not convinced that they will, which is a shame because this book has a lot of other things going for it....more
Kendra’s mom, Renee, was only 14 when she was born, and she left Kendra to be raised by her Nana while she went off to college. Now that Renee’s finalKendra’s mom, Renee, was only 14 when she was born, and she left Kendra to be raised by her Nana while she went off to college. Now that Renee’s finally finished her PhD, Kendra hopes she will finally start acting like a real mother, but Renee isn’t interested.
Angry at her absent mother and overly strict Nana, Kendra starts heading down a dangerous path with Nashawn, the boy her best friend likes. Will Kendra be able to resist temptation, will she end up like Renee, or will she be able to find her own way? ...more
Tyrell’s a fifteen year old from the Bronx who is living in a roach-infested homeless shelter with his mom & little brother. His dad’s in jail, hiTyrell’s a fifteen year old from the Bronx who is living in a roach-infested homeless shelter with his mom & little brother. His dad’s in jail, his mom wants him to sell drugs so he can make money, and he has to watch out for his little brother because no one else will.
As if that’s not enough, although he loves his good-girl girlfriend, he’s met an exciting new girl and isn’t sure what to do. Tyrell knows that if he doesn’t find some answers and make some money soon, he’s going to be stuck forever, but will he be able to find a way out of his situation? ...more