Teenie by Christopher Grant
Genre: YA, Cultural - African American
Pages: 272 (Hardback)
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High school freshman Martine (Teenie for short) is a good student, with a bright future ahead of her. She's desperate to be accepted into a prestigious study abroad program in Spain so that she can see what life is like beyond the streets of Brooklyn. She wouldn't mind escaping from her strict (though lovable) parents for awhile either. But when the captain of the basketball team starts to pay attention to her after she's pined away for him for months and Cherise, her best friend, meets a guy online, Teenie's mind is on anything but her schoolwork. Teenie's longtime crush isn't what he seemed to be, nor is her best friend's online love. Can Teenie get her act together in time to save her friendship with Cherise, save her grade point average so that she can study in Spain, and save herself from a potentially dangerous relationship? Christopher Grant makes a stunning literary debut with this warmly told story about friends, family, and finding oneself.
I absolutely loved this book! Teenie's voice is so clear and strong. I found myself completely invested in her life and struggles. Even more fun, Teenie was often witty and I found myself laughing out loud for most of the book. The relationship between Teenie is Cherise is also refreshing. While not perfect, it is incredibly realistic. I felt like the dialogue was something I could have had with my best friend in high school. It was so easy to disappear into the story because I felt like I was there.
The book deals with important issues such as bullying, the dangers of the internet, sexuality, and rape. However, Mr. Grant balances the issues so well that it isn't a sad read, but a moving one. The book is both character and plot driven and I read it in one sitting.
It reminds me a bit of Speak by Laurie Halse Alderson but the touches of culture (Teenie's parents are West Indian) and the friendship between Teenie and Cherise sets it apart.
Tomorrow, Mr. Christopher Grant will be by to answer a few questions about his writing journey.
This book satisfies the 2012 Multicultural Book Challenge