Thursday, July 01, 2010

Troubles abound

Here are two reviews to whet your appetite. Both of these books are ones that I picked up while at the ALA conference.

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Twelve-year-old Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya live in New Orleans' ninth ward. Poor in money, the two are very rich in love. Both have the second sight, which makes Mama Ya-Ya's worrisome dreams about the impending hurricane all that more frightening. She knows it isn't the hurricane they need to worry about but isn't sure what will happen afterwards that is so very fearful.

The love between Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya
Setting - 9th ward Hurricane Katrina.
Lanesha’s voice. It really resonates throughout the novel.

As my friend R said, the author could have taken the story so much farther, but she didn’t. This actually makes it a stronger novel. While not shying away from some of the more gruesome details of the post-Katrina flooding, the descriptions are still appropriate for the age range (10 and up).

urm….really, I don’t have any. I think the book was great.

Other Notes:
I've a feeling we will be seeing more and more fiction set around the same events.

This review is of an ARC, and due to be released on August 16, 2010.

I am J
by Cris Beam

In many ways J is like other teens. Self esteem issues. Arguments with parents. Unsure about the future. But J is very different in one way. J was born a girl, but has always felt male. Now he dresses like a boy, demands to be called J instead of Jenifer, and is at the brink of a journey that will forever change his life.

This topic needs coverage. There are few books for teens with transgendered characters - especially as main character.

Third person narration especially due to title
Flow of story. At times choppy. Third person narrative added to this issue.
The writing was often too informational, making it seem less like a novel, and more like a bad afterschool special.

Other Notes:
I would like to see a well written teen novel with this type of character. Something with a little more mainstream appeal. If there is more mainstream appeal, there is a bigger chance that the book would be purchased, making the topic more widely available.

This review is based on an ARC. The book is due to be released on March 11, 2011.

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