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Bronx Masquerade

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  5,772 Ratings  ·  824 Reviews
When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class, some of his classmates clamor to read their poems aloud too. Soon they're having weekly poetry sessions and, one by one, the eighteen students are opening up and taking on the risky challenge of self-revelation. There's Lupe Alvarin, desperate to have a baby so she will feel loved. Raynard Patterson, hiding ...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published December 29th 2003 by Speak (first published December 31st 2001)
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Myron Brown Between the Lines which is coming out in February is a sequel of sorts to Bronx Masquerade. It focuses on another group of students who takes Mr.…moreBetween the Lines which is coming out in February is a sequel of sorts to Bronx Masquerade. It focuses on another group of students who takes Mr. Ward's class.(less)
Meryssa Plentz There is actually many conflicts with each character within this story.

Community Reviews

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Nikki Grimes is a poet and author who previously won the Coretta Scott King Award for her Jazmin's Notebook. In Bronx Masquerade, Grimes has created a tapestry of cultures taking place in a Harlem high school. As part of a Black History Month challenge, I have read this young adult novel about teenagers creating poetry as a a means of dealing with the challenges of everyday life.

Mr Ward, a hip eleventh grade English teacher, has inspired his students to share their poetry as part of their unit
Carrie G
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Reluctant readers; pre-teens and teens
If I were rating "Bronx Masquerade" from my students' perspectives, they would give it 4 or 5 stars; they LOVED this book! Me... not so much. First of all, there were too many characters from too many different backgrounds with too little character development. I couldn't keep everyone straight because almost every chapter introduced a new character, but the chapters were only 2-3 pages long on average. 2-3 pages is nowhere NEAR enough to really flesh out a character enough that I will remember ...more
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read some previous reviews and I think they're missing the point.

Yes, there are a dozen characters (or more), and the story spans an entire school year. But there isn't really a big plot, per se, so there's not a lot of need for the reader to keep the characters straight. They reference each other enough that you can figure out, if you're really curious, but I think the poems and vignettes are more to illustrate how high school students have so much bubbling below the surface that others - cl
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nikki Grimes is one of my favorite writers and Bronx Masquerade is a delight. A group of teens in a Bronx (probably South Bronx from the sound of it) are studying the Harlem Renaissance in the English class when a student reads his own poem. Soon all the teens are writing and sharing poems about themselves, the struggles, their dreams.

Each chapter is a page or two about one teen, followed by the poem they write. What they discover that as different as they may be--body shape, skin color, jock o
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is about young kids that live in the Bronx who are all in the same english class, and even though they all come from very different backrounds they all come together through the poetry they share with eachother. Before the poetry days, these were kids who never even talked to eachother and were very distant from one another. The kids who would usually have bad grades were acing english class because they were enjoying sharing thier pain through poetry. Basically these kids created a bo ...more
Jenny Rae
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-books-2017
I loved everything about this book; the characters were all so funny yet so sincere and I loved hearing their stories. I wonder if at my school, if we did poetry writing like this, what the result would be. In the book it brought everyone together, which we need in this tiny town of Cartersville. I think the main purpose of this book is to realize that understanding is the most powerful force of them all. When we understand each other, we thrive. When we don't understand each other, we divide. A ...more
Brianna Marie
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Some of the poetry was good, but everything else was just terrible. The whole scenario seemed incredibly unlikely, and there characters didn't really have a lot of depth.

And please, SHUT UP TYRONE. His comments annoyed me so much. They were written way too simple and he just restated the obvious. It didn't add anything, and just managed to get on my nerves.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 5-star, school
I loved this book. Poems are not really my thing. But this book is amazing.
Phil Jensen
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Here's the formula:
1. A 2-5 page inner monologue by a character
2. A 1-2 page poem by the character
3. A one paragraph response by Tyrone

Here's how good it is:
1. The inner monologues vary from cringey to pretty good. Grimes does noticeably better on female characters than on male characters, and better on people of color than on whites. For example, here's Tyrone:

School ain't nothin' but a joke. My moms don't want to hear that, but if it weren't for Wesley and my other homeys, I wouldn't even be h
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
"Bronx Masquerade" is a book about a group of teenages attending high school in the Bronx. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different student, concluding with a poem that the student wrote. These students in Mr. Ward's English class are about of an evoluationary process in classroom structure; after one students asks to read a poem in front of the class, more students express interest in reading their poems. Eventually, Mr. Ward hosts weekly open mics in his classroom. Hearing thei ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rereads
This book reminded me a lot of The Brimstone Journals, with the shifting narrative from kid to kid. It truly does take an incredibly talented author to have so many characters and still give them unique personalities that are memorable but not overblown, and connect them at that.

However, I have to say I liked this one a bit better than Brimstone, partly because it wasn't entirely poetry, which I find easier to follow. Although poetry can give a different kind of understanding - and the excerpts
3.5, tirando a 4

Creo que no me habría gustado leerlo, porque hay muchísimos personajes y estamos muy poco tiempo con cada uno de ellos. Pero escuché el audiolibro con la intensión de consumir ficción mientras me ocupaba de mis cosas mundanas, y wow. Viene realmente bien escuchar una serie de historias, narradas por diferentes personas (y así los reconoces por su voz), mientras haces una cosa u otra. No pasa nada por pausarlo mil veces, las historias son pequeñas y bastante obvias en su intensión
Kate Olson
I read this one in advance of Grimes' companion title BETWEEN THE LINES (Feb 2018) and am SO happy I did! It is a YA mix of accessible prose and fabulous verse that should be in every high school library if it isn't already. Themes of identity, family, race, and life in the Bronx are covered expertly.

The new cover is a must-buy - all libraries and classrooms should replace their copies ASAP.
Karen Betancourt
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I chose 4 stars because it was a book with everyone's different perspectives. I liked how Tyrone said what he thought about the people's poems and how he thought only what he thought true. it could have been better if each person got more than one chapter like Wesley. Most of the characters changed throughout the story and they found who they really are on the inside, and Tyrone said that them doing the Open Mike's and the poems brought them together in a way. Some of the characters stopped bein ...more
Jerrod Drye
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done
I enjoyed reading Bronx Masquerade it was cool because I learned about new poets at the beginning and I learned you can express yourself in words and not actions.
Banelly Alonzo
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I gave this book 3 stars because it is a really good book but i just think its a little confusing to read since its mainly about characters life.
Someone else should read this because after the characters chapter it has a poem that they write and if you enjoy poetry i would recommend this to you
They should put more chapters about the characters in this book to make it better because the characters only have about 1 chapter each.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
While studying the Harlem Renaissance in English class, Mr. Ward begins holding Open Mike Fridays, allowing students to read their original poems to the class. Each of the students' stories and backgrounds are introduced and at first, the students think they have nothing in common. Some characters are Raul, an aspiring artist; Raynard, who struggles with dyslexia; Porsha, whose mother died of an overdose; Janelle, who teased about her weight; and Tyrone, a reluctant student who gets into poetry. ...more
First Line:
I ain’t particular about doing homework, you understand, p.3
But a poetry slam? That’s a whole other thing. Bronx Masquerade opens the classroom door into the lives of 18 high school students. What started out as an essay assignment from Mr. Ward quickly turns into a weekly open mike session. Now the class of mostly black and hispanic kids are finding out there’s more to each other than all the superficial and stereotypical labels. Each chapter is from a different student’s pers
Maria Nesmith
Feb 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: eced-221
I enjoyed reading the book Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. This book was about Mr. Ward's high school English classroom in the Bronx New York. Mr. Ward is teaching Harlem poetry when all of the students begin to want to share their poetry to the class. Mr. Ward then begins to hold “Open Mike” on Fridays for the students to share their poetry from that week. The book shows how the students relieve all their feelings and learn to become a family minus their backgrounds.

The book showed no rhymin
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adults
This book is *awesome*!!! I was not expecting it to be anywhere near as good as it was. It's a story about a group of kids in a high school English class in the Bronx who start reading poetry to each other. The writing is a mix of the individual teens' stories (where you get to know them and the problems they are facing) as well as their poems, which are always somehow related to their identity struggles. One boy named Tyrone usually comments on the poems and that helps to create a flow in the w ...more
May 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Bronx Masquerade sets out to teach kids that "poetry can be cool" and doesn't take the time to focus on anything else, like plot or character development or keeping the reader entertained. Grimes gives you a barrage of ridiculously underdeveloped characters dog-eared by one minor character flaw or minimalist back story. They all seem like outlines, or casings of characters that she meant to go back and fill in later. Even worse is Tyrone, our hype-man who follows each of the increasingly worse p ...more
Bill Parsons
Mar 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is mostly about poetry. It has very good verses and is not a very long book. This is what I'm reading right now and I really like it. It's kind of a slow moving book but oh well.i like the characters and how they they express themselves. The poetry slang in the book is detailed and really inspirational on some parts. It talks about being ur self and other moral values.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Outstanding! The author masterfully reveals how the students come to understand each other through listening to each other's poetry. Highly recommended!
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a class we finished reading the novel “Bronx Masquerade” by Nikki Grimes. Bronx Masquerade was about a group of students who all had Mr. Ward for english. This group was a blend of all different races and backgrounds. Mr. Ward started to get them to write poems, every friday they had open mike. Open mike was a place where they could share one of their pieces. In the beginning everyone was afraid to share their pieces, towards the end of the book Mr. ward had people lined up to share their pie ...more
Leslie Fitzpatrick
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
First sentence: I ain't particular about doing homework, you understand.

Premise/plot: Mr. Ward is exciting a high school class about poetry. He is giving his students ongoing opportunities to share their own poetry. Writing and sharing poetry changes them in immeasurable ways. This YA novel is told in multiple voices in prose and poetry. The novel spans a school year, I believe.

Black Box
by Devon Hope
In case I forgot to tell you,
I'm allergic to boxes:
Black boxes, shoe boxes
New boxes, You boxes--
Max Ostrovsky
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved the mix of narrative and poetry. And hey, loved the story, too. To better engage inner city, mostly disinterested students, a teacher incorporates an open mike concept to showcase student poetry.
In the process, not only do students with vastly different backgrounds and students who fit beyond stereotype and archetype come together and the class becomes more familial, the students find self-respect and self-worth. They learn how to better express themselves. So instead of a Mean Girl div
Mikayla Davis
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Conflict 1 1 Nov 17, 2015 10:20AM  
LOVE THIS BOOK! 1 5 Nov 03, 2013 07:02AM  
How Does this book express individuality from each character? 2 18 May 08, 2011 08:49AM  
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“Choose whatever box you like, Mike. Just don't put me in one, son. Believe me, I won't fit.” 13 likes
“You have to take people one at a time, check out what's in their head and heart before you judge.” 6 likes
More quotes…