Nikki Grimes is a great prose-poet for young adults. Unfortunately, A Girl named Mister, did not make me think “This is my favorite book!” Had I read it when it first came out, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. I feel others have done the theme better (fourteen-year-old girl falls in love, has sex, gets pregnant). The ending is slightly unique with the reader thinking Mister will give her baby up, yet, due to conflicting emotions, will she? The fact (spoiler) the mother of Mister was a teen mom, too, was not a surprise.
The language is sparse, but says a lot. However, I sometimes wished there was more of it. My favorite part is the fact (spoiler) the father of the baby puts blame all on Mister. He is realistic in his not taking responsibility. I would have liked to have seen more of the mother and the best friend of Mister. Both are flat. Also, maybe more reflection of Mister on things around her (the world, events, people, her family) would have worked. Grimes focuses on the struggle Mister has with her faith.
With all the spots I do not like, I still feel this book is a strong 4.5 rating. Grimes is an amazing writer. I think her talents might be elsewhere. Or at least for me. If I was to recommend at book of hers, I would pick One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. Or Garvey’s Choice, which deals with a father-son relationship.