School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-Written in the vernacular of urban African-American teens, which Flake captures flawlessly, these 10 stories have universal themes and situations. Some are funny and uplifting; others, disturbing and sad. In "So I Ain't No Good Girl," a teen wants to be with a good-looking popular boy, so much so that she tolerates his disrespect and abuse. In "Wanted: A Thug," Melody writes to a columnist for advice on how to steal a friend's boyfriend, unaware that the friend is the columnist's younger sister. Two of the stories are told from a boy's point of view. The concluding story, "A Letter to My Daughter," in which an absent father gives his daughter his advice about boys and men is sad, poignant, and loving. Flake has a way of teaching a lesson without seeming to do so. Addressing issues and situations that many girls face in today's often complex society, this book is provocative and thought-provoking.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Compilations of short stories and actual interviews lay bare teenage trials. Sharon G. Flake (The Skin I'm In) offers 10 portraits of teens and their romantic struggles in Who Am I Without Him? A girl gets a surprise response when she writes to a magazine advice column in "Wanted: A Thug," while a boy robs a house to be able to afford to take a girl to the prom in "Don't Be Disrespecting Me." The often-painful stories paint believable pictures of urban teens from a variety of backgrounds. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Gr. 6-12. Hilarious and anguished, these 10 short stories about growing up black today speak with rare truth about family, friends, school, and especially about finding a boyfriend. Erika is a ghetto girl who likes white boys; she can't help it, and the other black kids in school can't stand her, because they know. Class is a big issue for Erin, who steals clothes so he can take a suburban girl to the homecoming dance. The church girls are forbidden to date, and they get hurt when they go hunting for boys. But their well-meaning parents don't have it right, and the girls won't stop looking. As with Janet MacDonald's fiction, the talk here is wild, angry, and outrageous, but there's no overt sex or obscenity. Yes, there are messages, but the narrative is never preachy or uplifting; it's honest about the pain. When one girl's boyfriend hits her, she apologizes just like my momma does when daddy slaps her. The best advice comes from a dad who abandoned his family, who now tells his teenage daughter how to avoid getting stuck with someone like him (you is so much more than a pretty face and a tight pair of jeans, some boy's girlfriend or some man's wife ). Not everyone makes it. The stories work because Flake never denies the truths of poverty, prejudice, and failure. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist