Rdg Time: 2 hrs
This is the story of Trina, Dominique, and Leticia. We follow them around school one day. Dominique, the ball player, who uses force to get what she wants, Trina, or Cute Trina, who uses her looks to get what she wants, and Leticia, who blames everyone else for not having what she wants. Dominique can't play because her grades have fallen and her teacher won't change the grade. Leticia has to take zero hour math and French I and the guidance counselor won't switch classes. Trina is walking around being Trina but she sets the action in motion.
The story rotates among the main characters and each have a distinct way of speaking. I could actually "hear" their voices!
You have Dominique Duncan, the "boy-girl":
"I'm a yard with a big-ass sign: DO NOT TRESPASS. It's that simple." p. 33
Cute Trina who believes all the girls want to be like her and all the boys want to be with her.
"Its like the world can witness your greatness and you don't have to say a word" p.84
And Leticia who doesn't want to take responsibility for herself or anyone else.
"What Principal Bates should do is find a song called "Mind Your Business." If people minded their business everything would be straight." p.72
Williams-Garcia keeps the story rolling and you get to know each character a little better each time they speak. The pictures form in your head and you know them. I enjoyed the pacing and the story has a lot of everyday humor to offset the feeling of doom. You know we are racing towards something but we actually enjoy ourselves on the way there. There were so many times that I found myself smiling or laughing or writing down quotes. I enjoyed the insight into the teachers, the guidance counselors, and the absent Bea, who was at work.
I found the plot realistic. Sometimes what we see as small stuff is enough to set someone else off. Each person brings his or her own schema and somewhere in there, is something only they know about.
The ending was spot on - no one changes overnight! This is real and it didn't make me mad because the rest of the book fit right in, no neat wrap up necessary!
**********END SPOILER ALERT********************
This book was thought-provoking and entertaining and something I must buy for the library. It has 4 copies written all over it. It is YA though for some sexuality which is only alluded to not explained nor explored. All in all, a great read. Again, I say 4 copies!
Are you my Newbery:
IMHO, I don't think this will go for Newbery. I think the mature themes make it more of a Printz contender. I hope to see it on the shortlist for one of these though.
"I see how it all relates to my life because every other day I'm up a tree pushing some loser to his eventual death, then breaking out into a soliloquy." p. 39
"He's teaching his teacher heart out. He's funny as hell to watch but I get it. He just wants to play his full game." p. 59
"By closing my folder she clicks the power off on the remote, signifying The Leticia Comedy Hour is over." p. 77
"Pretty cheerleaders with bouncy hair and pom-poms are a necessity." p. 106
Funny stuff! I must find more Rita Williams-Garcia!