Sunday, November 09, 2008


Booth, Coe. 2008. Kendra.

There's nothing really different about today.

I loved Coe Booth's first book, Tyrell. I didn't love Kendra as much. But that's not to say I didn't like it. Kendra is fourteen, and in the eyes of her grandmother "Nana" doomed to repeat her mother's mistakes. Kendra's mom had her when she was fourteen. It has been Nana raising her all these years. And as much as Nana loves Kendra, she doesn't want to have to raise another child. Perhaps Nana doesn't know how to best communicate with her granddaughter. Threats and accusations and lectures aren't that effective it turns out. But despite a few mistakes in judgment, Kendra is essentially a good kid.

One of Kendra's best friends is Adonna. They're nearly the same age. They attend the same school. Have some of the same friends. And share a good many interests. Oh, and by the way, they're aunt-and-niece. Adonna's older brother, Kenny, is Kendra's father. The two families are neighbors still. Though Nana doesn't much approve of Kenny or Adonna.

Adonna has a BIG crush on Nashawn. She's adored-him-from-afar for several months at least (if not longer). But it is Kendra that Nashawn begins talking to. Their lockers are side by side. And soon it seems Nashawn is going a bit out of his way to see her...and talk to her...but should Kendra be welcoming Nashawn's attention? That's the question. Should she--knowing of Adonna's feelings--act on her own developing feelings?

Kendra's relationship with Nashawn is not at all innocent. It's messy through and through. Even Kendra herself is confused about WHY it has to be moving so fast...and in directions she's not comfortable with. In a way that makes her feel used, dirty, cheap.

I feel these graphic scenes may turn off some readers--but I'm not the moral police. I never quite know how to address these issues in my reviews. On the one hand, if I point out sensitive subject matters like sex, drinking, drugs, etc. then it might appear that I'm disapproving of it and all judgmental. On the other hand, if I say nothing, then a few readers might be in for a few shocks. Or not. It's all subjective. What is fine for one reader, may be disturbing for another. Or what is fine for fifteen or sixteen may be too much for eleven or twelve. I just think it's better to have a little warning. That way you have a feel for what to expect.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Julie P. said...

My nine year old daughter just read these books a few weeks ago and loved them!