Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Young Adult Books - One Crazy Summer and Lockdown

This year, I have decided to try and read more Young Adult books. They are incredibly popular, and I'm finding that they are much more mature than they were back when I was a teen (ahem ... a few years ago!)

Here are two that have been releaesd in time to celebrate Black History Month in February.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One girl, a long way from home, just wants to get to know her mother. One boy just wants to stay out of trouble long enough to go home. Two young black kids, two different generations, two fascinating stories that will appeal to young readers.

In “One Crazy Summer,” author Rita Williams Garcia tells the story of eleven-year old Delphine and a summer adventure that would change her life. Sent to California with her two younger sisters to visit their mother Cecile, Delphine hoped for a fun vacation, but what she and her sister found was a mother who really didn’t want them there.

Busy with her revolutionary poetry and underground printing operation, Cecile (now called Nzilla) didn’t have time for kids to be underfoot, so she sends them to a summer camp sponsored by her friends in the Black Panther movement.

Wary of their new situation, Delphine takes care of Vonetta and Fern, and is determined to make the best of their time there. They learn a few radical new things, make some new friends and find that they can learn a thing or two from their outrageous mother and her new outlook on life.

Rita Williams Garcia has created a tale of family, sacrifice and understanding in “One Crazy Summer.” Set in Oakland, California in 1968, when the hippies and the Black Panther movement ruled the streets, this book is a smart, sassy and sometimes downright funny. It is well-told story that shares a look at how a dysfunctional family can adapt to each other’s quirks and personalities, and eventually find a relationship together.

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers

“Lockdown” by Walter Dean Myers is a modern-day look at how one boy’s desperate mistakes can cost him dearly.

Reese is incarcerated at the Progress Juvenile facility for making some seriously wrong decisions in his life, and getting involved with a bad bunch of people. He tries to straighten up, even qualifying to be involved in an experimental work program at a local senior citizens home, but try as he may; Reese just seems to draw trouble to himself.

When one of the residents at home, Mr. Hooft, gives him a hard time about being a petty criminal and good for nothing else, Reese becomes determined to prove to the old man that he is a decent person, with hopes and dreams of his own.

Myers, who has written many successful young adult and teen books, takes a look at the juvenile justice and incarceration system in “Lockdown.” A gritty, realistic story, Myers doesn’t hold back any details of what it’s like to be locked up at a young age. But he also shows, through

Reese’s story, that there is a chance at redemption if there is just a little faith and determination to change.

Overall Impressions:

These are both excellent books. Dephine was a child of the sixties, and Reece is a child of today – two totally different lives, two totally different stories, but both are strong and brave kids and their stories hold important lessons for young people.

I received both of these books from the good folks at Harper Collins for review. I was not obligated to post a favorable review.


Beth Hoffman said...

Thanks, Sharon. I needed a book recommendation for the neighbor boy's birthday, and I think Lockdown will be great.

Love your new background -- you're always so creative!

....Petty Witter said...

I didn't know next month was black history month. Some interesting books there Sharon. I must confess that I've read more YA books then ever before, as you say there are some really good ones about.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I am really enjoying YA and started reading it last year. It is funny that now when I go into a book store many times I am drawn to that section of books. :)

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