Xemilyx's Reviews > 16 on the Block

16 on the Block by Babygirl Daniels
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U_50x66
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May 03, 10

bookshelves: ya-goodness
Read in April, 2010

How old is Babygirl? Because if she's, like, 16, then good for her for writing a book-length story about going from foster care to big ballin. It starts when Summer Flynt turns 16 and her older sister gets custody of her, taking her to live in a shiny new apartment with closets full of clothes and money stacked under the floorboards. Summer knows her sister's up to something shady with her employer/boyfriend Boss, but what can she do?

But if Babygirl isn't a 16-year-old girl, then how about some editing? This is well written on the sentence level, and there are a couple surprisingly real scenes: like when Summer walks to school in her new designer outfit and realizes that everyone else is wearing jeans and flip-flops. Or when she's trying to get a ride home from Jus, a guy who seems right for her because they're both social royalty, but who doesn't actually turn her on.

But some of the other scenes ... my problem isn't that they're pure fantasy (no way do cops or drug dealers operate the way the author suggests). My problem is that the scenes are disconnected. There are huge leaps forward in time and random changes in perspective. It isn't until about a 1/3 of the way into the book that the author suddenly starts writing chapters from the perspectives of characters other than Summer. I was like, what?

I wanted to like this book, and I think Babygirl has a strong voice and a good idea of what kind of plots appeal to teen urban fiction readers. The other reviews of this book show that plenty of people loved the action scenes: Summer riding around in the trunk of a car, running across town with a duffel bag of money, sneaking into her old apartment via the trash disposal system. I definitely wasn't bored. I was just distracted by the parts that made my editor brain kick in. So I'll be reading her other books and hoping she develops as a writer. Or gets a better editor.
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