Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teenie by Christopher Grant

Publication Date: October 12, 2010
 Summary from Goodreads:

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?

My Two Cents:

Teenie has got a lot on her plate. She has to worry about keeping her grade point average up so she can get a scholarship AND worry about what to wear to school tomorrow AND still keep from getting in trouble with her parents. I enjoy her personality because she's smart and innocent unlike many girls her age.As naive as she is, when she does finally catch on, she gets it. Her parents work hard to keep her in line and focused on her studies. Her best friend Cherise puts her on to the new things. One day she gets talked into wearing a dress to get "noticed". Well she definitely gets more than she bargained for.

I really liked Teenie because I grew up in Brooklyn NY where the book is taking place so I knew every street corner and every pizza shop that was mentioned. My high school was actually a few blocks away from Teenie's. Her conversations with Cherise definitely sounded familiar. It was like hearing an old conversation I'd had with one of my girls at that age..

At first I was a bit disturbed by some of the adult content  but then I remembered that that's actually a realistic situation for a 14-year old these days. That was Teenie's struggle throughout the novel. She was still thinking the way a 14- year old would think while her peers were moving on to more adult things.

Her parents are typical Caribbean parents. School comes first, everything else isn't very important. Unfortunately keeping her sheltered did have some drawbacks. I think her parents just wanted to protect her but not knowing certain things can still be harmful. 

Very nice debut from Christopher Grant and writing from a female's prospective at that. I look forward to more from him.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chopping it Up with Jo Knowles

Today please welcome Jo Knowles, Author of Jumping Off Swings, Lessons from a Dead Girl and upcoming title Pearl. Today we're chatting about her character Henry. Check it out:

Describe Henry’s relationship with Bean.

Henry and Bean have my ideal friendship. They know each other as well as themselves, flaws and all, and still love each other. Also, they have great taste in junk food.
Why does Henry make up stories about his dad?
I think we always make up stories about people we wish we knew, whether we mean to or not.
Was Henry happy for his mom when Bean's mom finally got her out of the house?
I think he was mostly afraid for her, because she seemed so fragile. But I think he grew to be happy for her, once he knew she was safe, and happy herself.

Why is Bean Henry’s only friend? Is it by choice?

I think sometimes when you have a heavy load to carry, you don’t have a lot of room for much more baggage. There is a certain unique and equal level of trust between them that allows them to share the weight of what they carry. You can’t do that with just anyone.

Do you think Henry and Bean will ever become more than best friends?

Hmmmm. What do you think? :-)

Anything else you'd like to share with us?

I hope everyone will try Claire’s popcorn recipe because it is truly wonderful.

Thanks for the interview!

About the book:
Bean (née Pearl) and Henry, misfits and best friends, have the strangest mothers in town. Henry’s mom Sally never leaves the house. Bean’s mom Lexie, if she is home, is likely nursing a hangover or venting to her friend Claire about Bean’s beloved grandfather Gus, the third member of their sunny household.
Gus’s death unleashes a host of family secrets that brings them all together. And they threaten to change everything—including Bean’s relationship with Henry, her first friend, and who also might turn out to be her first love.