Nearly twenty years ago, Jacqueline Woodson first tackled the same subject matter as depicted in The Hate U Give (2017) in her typically poetic and poignant style in the novel If You Come Softly (1998). It is a story of first love, an interracial one between fifteen-year-old Jeremiah and Ellie who meet at their private school. They have to deal with how society treats them because of their relationship. In the end, this modern day Romeo and Juliet comes to an abrupt end when Jeremiah is fatally shot by […]
The story of Sharon Creech’s Jack from Love That Dog (2001) continues. Early in his school year, Jack reveals to his teacher that 1) he hates cats, and 2) his college professor Uncle Bill does not believe that the poems Jack had written in the previous school year are “real” poems because they are short, lack rhyme, a regular meter, symbols, metaphor, onomatopoeia, and alliteration. Thank goodness Jack has Miss Stretchberry as his teacher again because she tells him that all those elements his uncle mentioned are […]
Fangirl (2013) is another of Rowell’s character-driven YA novels that has been well-received by readers and well-reviewed by critics. As of this post, it has a slightly higher rating on Goodreads (4.12) than her very much revered Eleanor & Park (4.11), also published in 2013. Rainbow Rowell is an engaging writer, so for all I didn’t like about the book, Rowell is gifted in being able to create memorable characters and worlds that seem relatable and authentic. Still, I could not get beyond thinking that this […]
“Running ain’t nothing I ever had to practice. It’s just something I knew how to do,” explains Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw from Jason Reynolds’s National Book Award finalist Ghost (2016) when he comes across a track practice on his meandering run home from school one afternoon. A seventh grader, Ghost also has “a lot of scream in him” that has resulted in many altercations at school that have put him on a path to delinquency. Read the full review.
Who killed Mr. Chippendale, and why? These two questions drive the narrative in Mel Glenn’s Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems (1999). Told from the perspectives of various characters representing different sectors of the school and community reacting to the murder of Mr. Chippendale, Who Killed Mr. Chippendale is developed through a series of interlocking free-verse poems. Many characters are introduced, the majority of whose voices are heard once and help to create a nuanced portrait of Mr. Chippendale–a mystery to his own colleagues despite […]