We always see the Fatal Attraction genre geared towards men or how men can cause a woman to go insane with jealousy, but it's rare that we get a story...moreWe always see the Fatal Attraction genre geared towards men or how men can cause a woman to go insane with jealousy, but it's rare that we get a story of how it happens solely from the perspective of the girl going down that path. And even rarer still do we see it told from the perspective of a teen.
Kamiyah isn't your everyday girl. She is a dancer, a straight-A senior, and the daughter of two powerhouse professionals. But when she isn't preparing for her Julliard audition, or debating the symbolism of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, she can be found hanging out with her girls, the FFFF(Fly Fine Friends Forever) crew.
It's on a trip to a college party with her girls that she meets Sincere, a college freshman who is just her style. Flirtations lead to a summer of hanging out, texting daily, and spending just about every moment talking. No. Seriously. Every. Moment.
Loving Sincere becomes an all-consuming need, rooted deeply in Kamiyah's memories of her sister Erika's "rules" for dating boys. Including ways to make sure they aren't cheating, how to check their motives, or how to make sure you have them wrapped around your finger. Not only does she think about him all the time, but she wants him to be thinking about her too.
Pretty soon, she can't complete a class period without sending him a "what are you doing" text. Hanging with her friends becomes a hassle, and the already-volatile relationship with her mother quickly becomes explosive. Nothing or no one will stand between her being with her man, even if it means slipping a tracker on his phone, threatening girls with wayward eyes, or creating a fake Facebook profile to see if he talks to her. How far is too far?
I know a few girls who can jump quickly between ratchet and composed, and Kamiyah would fit in effortlessly. It was a little jarring to see her slip between the two lives at first, but it was also very real. Her lifestyle, language(though there is little to no actual "profanity" in the entire book) and personality was vivid and almost cringe-worthy.
At the core of this story is a cautionary tale on respect and relationships and how to handle them both. Kamiyah's personal choices on how to handle love, parents, friendships, and even her relationship with herself, was like a crash I couldn't turn away from. Her relationship with her parents, her mother especially, was hard to watch but I realized that this was only because it was so honest. Growing up and becoming who you are, while caring for the thoughts and feelings of others isn't always something we are taught. It's often what we learn after failing a few times. This author allowed Kamiyah to do just that.
While some adults would find it hard to wade through the dialect and pace, I am recommending this book to my teens because it was at its core, very genuine. I also think that seeing Kamiyah and Sincere's insanely intense relationship, and the choices Kamiyah was willing to make concerning it, will cause some to reflect on their own behavior.
My only complaint, I HATE when authors do quick final summation chapters because they don't know what else can be done with the characters. HATE IT. And I wanted so much more from Kamiyah. I will say, that I believe the way the author chose to close it out will allow easy entry for a sequel, so that's a good thing at least.
Overall, GOOD ONE. I was actually impressed with the writing of this downward spiral. Amir Abrams is a force. And he has a command of the culture and language that was quick to follow and difficult to put down. Readers who liked this, should also try Flyy Girl, by Omar Tyree. (less)
Definitely not Zane's best. This was one of those titles where you could really tell that her propulsion into a household name in urban fiction was fu...moreDefinitely not Zane's best. This was one of those titles where you could really tell that her propulsion into a household name in urban fiction was fueled by her erotica, but overshadowed her actual storytelling abilities. I say that because a perfectly great telling was repeatedly interrupted with an unnecessary sexual statement at times as though she were thinking, "well, I am Zane, I better throw an erotic phrase in here right quick" It wasn't always necessary.
The characters were interesting enough, but they too weren't as engaging or even as funny as most of Zane's other book characters are. I love a good workplace drama/gossip fest, and while Skyscraper had all the makings of one, it never really caught fire the way it could have. I'm also always disappointed when an author decides to phone it in with the ending by giving us wrap-up statements. "So-N-So went on to become..." blah blah.
I'm still a fan, and there were some laugh out loud moments, but they were few and far between. People who really want to get a grasp of who Zane is, should check out the special short stories she includes at the end of the book, or pick up a classic like Nervous, Sisters of APF or my personal favorite Shame on It All. (less)
The girl that grew up reading Waiting to Exhale, The Hand I Fan With, and Flyy Girl, was weeping for the lack of similar books these d...moreYES. FINALLY. YES.
The girl that grew up reading Waiting to Exhale, The Hand I Fan With, and Flyy Girl, was weeping for the lack of similar books these days. I am revived. And, to see it with my city as a backdrop!!! THANK YOU DEANNA.
A real and vividly entertaining portrayal of how sometimes life leads you down a path that only good (and sometimes new) friends can get you comfortable on.
A rhythmic poem illustrating summer life in the city from a young girl's view. The initial lines, "we don have no backyard, frontyard neither", sets a...moreA rhythmic poem illustrating summer life in the city from a young girl's view. The initial lines, "we don have no backyard, frontyard neither", sets a tone of disparity but the next few pages is anything but needy as she relays all the things that make up her life. From double-dutch and freeze tag, red cream pop, black eyed peas and cool lemonade, it is quite clear that her hot Philly Summer leaves nothing much to be desired, even without that backyard. The soft, pencil illustrations by Cbabi Bayoc are filled with beautiful browns and warm oranges, and contain his usual style of detailed and exaggerated features. The text flows beautifully in spite of the fact that it is written in dialect, and would be a perfect addition to any picture book collection that highlights city life or summer in the city. Parents who lived in similar environments will love the nostalgia found in these pages. I surely did.(less)
Kate has returned, on an unfortunately more sour note than the previous novel ended. A family emergency with her foste...moreDream Jordan has done it again.
Kate has returned, on an unfortunately more sour note than the previous novel ended. A family emergency with her foster parents has caused her comfortable new home to be once again snatched away and she is returned to the group home settings she'd thought to be finally free of. Once again faced with jealous and insecure fellow residents who want to prove their toughness, Kate finds solace in her journaling and service, determined not to become the argumentative and frisky fighter she once was. Her best friend Felicia is still around, but now in a "cutest couple"-worthy relationship that Kate would kill to have.
While volunteering for a community event, she becomes reacquainted with two past crushes; Charles, who readers will remember from the former novel, and Percy, whom she knows because she vandalized his mother's store when she was in her gang-member days. Both boys begin to press her pretty hard for attention, but it is Percy who's the most charming and cunning. He's a perfect gentleman, a caring listener, and a friend when she really needs one. Which makes it all the more easy for her to overlook his highly intense emotional outbursts and protective behavior. Behavior that Felicia spots instantly. As in most stories of this nature, you never want to listen to your "perfect" friend when you're trying to get your own piece of perfect, and the relationship leads to some pretty intense friction between the two friends.
The relationship between Kate and Percy is a bit fast, but considering the life she's led thus far, it was easy to see how a relationship such as this would be so important and almost necessary for her. The language that Dream Jordan uses in Bad Boy is in the same non-judgmental voice as Hot Girl, and that makes the "lessons" that much more digestible for young people. The book is honest, believable, and fast-paced. And as an added plus, once again, she accomplishes it all, without a single, solitary word of profanity. Definitely a recommended read for youth book clubs, or reluctant female readers.(less)
Lottie Paris is a busy young lady today. She and Papa Pete have to visit the park, Lottie has to build a castle in her room, host a tea party, secretl...moreLottie Paris is a busy young lady today. She and Papa Pete have to visit the park, Lottie has to build a castle in her room, host a tea party, secretly steal Papa Pete's phone to play with, etc. You know, normal busy little girl stuff!
Readers of other Angela Johnson stories will love Lottie Paris just as much. Through the picture on their wall, it's clear that Papa Pete is a single father or maybe even an adoptive dad. Readers never see his face, so the story takes on a very Muppet Babies feel (Nanny's legs), but he's got just as much personality . LOL
Lottie ends up in the quiet chair a couple times, and she's busier than a bee, but she's also cute as a button and very loving. Little girls will love the cute and colorful pictures while adults will chuckle at the similarities to Lottie Paris and perhaps a similar girl in their life. The illustrations are bright and cheery, and Lottie Paris is a serious cutie.(less)
I never watched Tiny and Toya. To be honest, I was a bit prejudiced. Comments or tabloid posts didn't necessarily sway me, but I was a bit tired of th...moreI never watched Tiny and Toya. To be honest, I was a bit prejudiced. Comments or tabloid posts didn't necessarily sway me, but I was a bit tired of the reality shows that highlighted the almost-wives, wifey material, and opportunistic exes of celebs. That, and I've lost interest in most of what BET produces these days.
So, I just wasn't all that interested in seeing how life was like for the former singer/current fiance (at the time) of T.I., or the ex-wife of Lil Wayne. Neither life interested me in the least, and I just wasn't up to the real housewifey-ish drama.
I wonder if I had watched, would I be less inspired and profoundly touched by Ms. Carter's book. She had much, much more to say than what I expected to hear.
Antonia Carter may be known by some as the ex-wife of a famous rapper, but she's also a heroine. A survivor of family secrets, heartbreak and desperation. She's turned her life into something she can be proud of, and not only is it a story worth reading, but one worth sharing.
At a very young age, Toya was "collected" by an uncle and his wife who realized that drugs were keeping Toya's parents from actually taking care of her. She grew up longing for a relationship with her mother, and yet ashamed of her through the harsh words of neighbors and even some family. That embarrassment led to teenage rebellion, which also led to her being tossed from house to house within her family. Some aunts were too old to take care of an angry, disrespectful teen, while some cousins were simply uninterested. The few family members who wanted more for her, she rebelled even harder against.
Meanwhile, the place she would freely accept affection from, was boys. Their hugs and kisses made her feel worthwhile and acceptable. As Toya put it, she felt like if she was pretty and he was handsome, and they were popular all would be well. While she evaded actually going "too far" with most of the boys she dated, she finally fell head over heels in love with a boy she calls "Dream", who readers learn is her name for Wayne. Their romance was hot, heavy, and endearing but she makes reference to the fact that Dream was simply not ready for the family life she had in mind. Even less when she actually did become pregnant at age 14.
Through short vignettes into her life as a young and practically homeless mom to daughter Reginae, 18 year old wife of a young man whose career was taking him farther from the home she wanted so desperately to build, and overcoming her feelings of low self worth, Toya gives amazingly blunt and heartfelt advice. She discusses the relationship with her ex-husband, friends, and family members freely, with a tone of maturity and forgiveness.
Some of Toya's advice is said with an innocence that can be mistaken for naivete, but it is clear that she's nobody's fool anymore. The chapters cover everything from sex to faith, and she is careful to include every bit of herself that could be helpful to other girls and young women. Including her own daughter.
The book was published by Farrah Gray Publishing, which I feel could have done a much better job on the editing, as there were missing words and some minor misspellings. There were also some times where I couldn't figure out which aunt she was referring to, or what time period we had jumped into. Overall, it was a beautiful book that I will share with the young girls in my life.(less)