Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I’m just a girl in a gang…

At least, that was a common thread of the two books I finished last night. There were several common threads:

  • Both of the main characters were Hispanic teenage girls
  • Both were set in New York City area
  • Both of the girls dealt with gang issues
  • Both of the girls wrote poetry

In Snitch by Allison van Diepen, Julia is the smart girl who avoids joining a gang – though two of her best friends are in them. Her high school is full of gang activity, a nearly equal mix of Bloods and Crips. Julia wants nothing to do with it. When the cute new student Eric Valienté shows an interest in Julia, she decides to date him. But when he is jumped into a gang, it completely changes her world.

In A Different Kind of Heat by Antonio Pagliarulo, Luz Cordero must come to terms with her older brother’s death, or be consumed by the fiery rage within. Luz was there. She saw the cop kill her brother. She leaves her gang and takes up protesting against police brutality. When she is arrested for inciting a riot, Luz is sent to live at the St. Therese Home for Boys and Girls. Here she begins to turn her life around, and learns to forgive. This is an April book group selection.

Both were decent enough tales…but just didn’t ring true to me. Too much happy ending. I’d place both of these books in the category of Wannabe Street Lit…or maybe Street Lit Lite. Of the two, I liked Snitch the best.

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