Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kimani TRU

I have a lot of books that need a-bloggin'. I'm going to try to just churn out a lot of one-book review posts, instead of a longer post with multiple books, which is what I normally do.

Of course, every time I say I'm going to do that, it never happens. We'll see what happens this week.

Keysha's Drama Earl Sewell

I need to give a shout-out to Leila over at Bookshelves of Doom for telling me that Kimani TRU is an imprint of Harlequin. Yes, that Harlequin.

So, I had to read this book for work. It's one of YALSA's Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers, and the imprint circulates heavily in my system.

Basically, Keysha lives in the Chicago ghetto. Her mother thinks, that at 16, she should strike out on her own, or at least get pregnant in order to bring home another welfare check. After her mom gets arrested for prostitution, the social workers put Keysha in foster care until they find her father.

Daddy is rich and lives in the surburbs. His new wife is a grade-A you-know-what and his son is a little thug-wannabe. Keysha does not fit in. And then she meets a new friend (Goth Lesbian!) who slips her some X and Keysha's blamed for bringing drugs from the inner city into the suburbs. Drama ensues.

Why I disliked this book:

1. The end was super quick and the actions of various characters where completely unsupported by the rest of text. Telling someone about something in your past does NOT completely allow you to do a 180 in the space of half a page. This, however, may be the fault of the imprint, for, according to their website:

Manuscript word length: Approximately 60,000–70,000 words
Manuscript pages: 200 pages

So, Sewell ran out of space.

2. The terminology was wrong. At one point, Keysha writes a mean-spirited (but totally true) blog about her half-brother. Now, a blog is a page with a series of posts. Biblio File is a blog. As I type this, I am blogging, however, this post isn't a blog. This is a BLOG POST. Keysha actually writes a BLOG POST about her brother on his MySpace page. But Keysha keeps talking about the BLOG she wrote about her brother. If Sewell can't even get this right, I can't take the rest of his book seriously. And neither will teens.

3. Kimani TRU says "In general, the main female character should lead a normal teenage lifestyle." Can we please get over the impression that poor ghetto life is "normal" for African-Americans? Yes, there are a disproportionate amount of ethnic minorities caught in the cycle of poverty, but not all minorities are poor.

4. Gothic Lesbians are bad, bad, bad, bad. (Really, the bad kid had to be Goth? And a lesbian? Let me tell you about suburban high schools. You know who's really dealing drugs? The quarterback. The all-American Abercrombie Perfect kids. They're the bad ones. Not the poor Goth kids who are pissed off about the hypocrisy of it all.)

Look, this book circulates well. The teens love it. I am not the intended audience, and that's cool. The main thing that bugged me was the ending came out of nowhere. It really was a "oh crap, I have to finish this thing in 20 pages" type deal. Except 20 might be too high a number.


Anonymous said...

Bless you.

(Actually, I'd strongly recommend another of the 'Tru' line -- The Edification of Sonya Crane by J Guilford. But other than that, I've been underwhelmed.)

Anonymous said...

lady u r so ignorant. the book wasn't saying that all blacks were poor it was centered on this girls experiences. also the book wasn't imposing that all gay goths were bad. you took the book too serious and i think you should try to read more kimani tru books. they send many messeges and represent people of all kinds. rich and poor. black,white, hispanic. so dont blog to quickly next time K?

Jennie said...

I'm sorry dione, but I find that relying on tired stereotypes to tell a story is just poor writing, and poor story telling. Especially when books published by Kimani Tru are REQUIRED to show a "normal" lifestyle. Thinking such a lifestyle is normal is just sad.

Also, if you're going to call me ignorant, at least spell your words correctly, know what the words you use mean, and understand the basic rules of capitalization.

It's fine if you liked the book. A lot of people do, but I am not one of them.