Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 6^-10. Like Virginia Euwer Wolff's True Believer (2001) and much contemporary YA fiction, this moving first novel tells the story in a series of dramatic monologues that are personal, poetic, and immediate, with lots of line breaks that make for easy reading, alone or in readers' theater. Keesha finds shelter in a house in her inner-city neighborhood and helps other troubled teens find home and family there ("like finding a sister when I'm old / enough to pick a good one" ). Stephie is pregnant, and she's heartbroken that her boyfriend doesn't want the baby. Harris is gay; his dad has thrown him out. Carmen is fighting addiction. Dontay's parents are in jail, and he doesn't feel comfortable in his latest foster home. Interwoven with the angry, desperate teen voices are those of the adults in their lives: caring, helpless, abusive, indifferent. In a long note, Frost talks about the poetic forms she has used, the sestina and the sonnet. But most readers will be less interested in that framework than in the characters, drawn with aching realism, who speak poetry in ordinary words and make connections. --Hazel Rochman


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-Frost has taken the poem-story to a new level with well-crafted sestinas and sonnets, leading readers into the souls and psyches of her teen protagonists. The house in the title isn't really Keesha's; it belongs to Joe. His aunt took him in when he was 12, and now that he's an adult and the owner of the place, he is helping out kids in the same situation. Keesha needs a safe place to stay-her mother is dead; her father gets mean when he drinks, and he drinks a lot. She wants to stay in school, all these teens do, and Keesha lets them know they can stay at Joe's. There's Stephie, pregnant at 16, and terrified to tell anyone except her boyfriend. Harris's father threw him out when his son confided that he is gay. Katie's stepfather has taken to coming into her room late at night, and her mother refuses to believe her when she tells. Carmen's parents have run off, and she's been put into juvie for a DUI. Dontay is a foster kid with two parents in jail. Readers also hear from the adults in these young people's lives: teachers, parents, grandparents, and Joe. It sounds like a soap opera, but the poems that recount these stories unfold realistically. Revealing heartbreak and hope, these poems could stand alone, but work best as a story collection. Teens may read this engaging novel without even realizing they are reading poetry.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-Jason states it best: "-It looks to me like the kids at Keesha's house are wearing/lives designed for people twice their age." When they can't go home, this is where they come. Poignant poems tell their stories. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In her first YA novel, Frost profiles seven teens in trauma, artfully revealed through sestinas and sonnets. With pregnant Stephie's opening lines, she conveys a bittersweet contrast typical of the collection: "My parents still think I'm their little girl./ I don't want them to see me getting bigger,/ bigger every week, almost too big to hide it now." Katie's stepfather tries to molest her, and Harris is thrown out of the house when he reveals that he's gay. Each character ends up at Keesha's house (the house really belongs to an adult named Joe, but teen Keesha, who has her own problems, looks after the arrangements and the kids who wind up there). Some characters simply pass through, while others form a family. The adults in their lives, such as parents, a judge and even Joe, offer other perspectives on the teens' lives. The struggles may be familiar, but Frost makes her characters and their daily lives seem relevant and authentic (in one poem, Katie describes how the smallest wrinkle-a new bus schedule-brings her to tears because she now won't have time to change for work; in another, Dontay dreads being tracked down by his case worker), often using striking imagery ("All my questions are like wind-tossed/ papers in the street," Stephie writes). Making the most of the poetic forms, the author breathes life into these teens and their stories, resulting in a thoughtfully composed and ultimately touching book. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 6^-10. Like Virginia Euwer Wolff's True Believer (2001) and much contemporary YA fiction, this moving first novel tells the story in a series of dramatic monologues that are personal, poetic, and immediate, with lots of line breaks that make for easy reading, alone or in readers' theater. Keesha finds shelter in a house in her inner-city neighborhood and helps other troubled teens find home and family there ("like finding a sister when I'm old / enough to pick a good one" ). Stephie is pregnant, and she's heartbroken that her boyfriend doesn't want the baby. Harris is gay; his dad has thrown him out. Carmen is fighting addiction. Dontay's parents are in jail, and he doesn't feel comfortable in his latest foster home. Interwoven with the angry, desperate teen voices are those of the adults in their lives: caring, helpless, abusive, indifferent. In a long note, Frost talks about the poetic forms she has used, the sestina and the sonnet. But most readers will be less interested in that framework than in the characters, drawn with aching realism, who speak poetry in ordinary words and make connections. --Hazel Rochman


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-Frost has taken the poem-story to a new level with well-crafted sestinas and sonnets, leading readers into the souls and psyches of her teen protagonists. The house in the title isn't really Keesha's; it belongs to Joe. His aunt took him in when he was 12, and now that he's an adult and the owner of the place, he is helping out kids in the same situation. Keesha needs a safe place to stay-her mother is dead; her father gets mean when he drinks, and he drinks a lot. She wants to stay in school, all these teens do, and Keesha lets them know they can stay at Joe's. There's Stephie, pregnant at 16, and terrified to tell anyone except her boyfriend. Harris's father threw him out when his son confided that he is gay. Katie's stepfather has taken to coming into her room late at night, and her mother refuses to believe her when she tells. Carmen's parents have run off, and she's been put into juvie for a DUI. Dontay is a foster kid with two parents in jail. Readers also hear from the adults in these young people's lives: teachers, parents, grandparents, and Joe. It sounds like a soap opera, but the poems that recount these stories unfold realistically. Revealing heartbreak and hope, these poems could stand alone, but work best as a story collection. Teens may read this engaging novel without even realizing they are reading poetry.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-Jason states it best: "-It looks to me like the kids at Keesha's house are wearing/lives designed for people twice their age." When they can't go home, this is where they come. Poignant poems tell their stories. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In her first YA novel, Frost profiles seven teens in trauma, artfully revealed through sestinas and sonnets. With pregnant Stephie's opening lines, she conveys a bittersweet contrast typical of the collection: "My parents still think I'm their little girl./ I don't want them to see me getting bigger,/ bigger every week, almost too big to hide it now." Katie's stepfather tries to molest her, and Harris is thrown out of the house when he reveals that he's gay. Each character ends up at Keesha's house (the house really belongs to an adult named Joe, but teen Keesha, who has her own problems, looks after the arrangements and the kids who wind up there). Some characters simply pass through, while others form a family. The adults in their lives, such as parents, a judge and even Joe, offer other perspectives on the teens' lives. The struggles may be familiar, but Frost makes her characters and their daily lives seem relevant and authentic (in one poem, Katie describes how the smallest wrinkle-a new bus schedule-brings her to tears because she now won't have time to change for work; in another, Dontay dreads being tracked down by his case worker), often using striking imagery ("All my questions are like wind-tossed/ papers in the street," Stephie writes). Making the most of the poetic forms, the author breathes life into these teens and their stories, resulting in a thoughtfully composed and ultimately touching book. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved