Category Archives: Female Protagonist

On the Come Up

On the Come UpI will admit that hip hop and rap are a little bit outside of my wheelhouse, but I love the education I’m getting with this book!  Bri, the tough and talented protagonist is everything I want my students to be. She cares deeply for her family, is talented beyond her own knowing, and follows her dreams with the reckless abandon we only seem to find in our youth. I just want to buy her that pair of Timberlands!

“Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families” (Good Reads).

The Hate U Give

 

The Hate U GiveOh, boy. What can I say, but get ready for tremendous emotion in this one. I read it at the same time as All American Boys. They have similar story lines (teens being wrongfully accused and mistreated by police officers), but there was just something about the female protagonist in this one that has stayed with me ever since.  Starr is tough, smart, and sensitive (even if she doesn’t want to be). Needing to code switch in order to fit in at her private school while still maintaining an authentic presence in her neightborhood, Starr is an unforgettable character.

 

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed ” (Good Reads).

The Hazel Wood

Image result for the hazel woodLove it! Love it! Love it!  Fairy tale and literary allusions abound! This modern day fairy tale, quest story is so very different than anything I’ve read recently. I got lost in it, just like Alice (and, yes, that’s an allusion to the original Alice – another favorite of mine!).

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”  (Good Reads)

The Hate List

So, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I mean, I couldn’t put it down, so that’s a good sign.  Now I can’t stop thinking about it – another good sign.  But are the adults in this book just completely careless, or is there a deeper message afoot?

Image result for the hate list

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.  (Good Reads)

Beyond the Bright Sea

Image result for beyond the bright seaWhat an amazing journey!  I absolutely fell in love with Crow. She’s just such a plucky, fearless, and independent young creature! The relationsip she has with her father and lady neighbor are reminiscent of another young favorite of mine, Scout Finch. This one will teach us all about the beauty of family, in whatever form that may find you. Loved it!

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. (Good Reads)

The Poet X

The Poet XI just love that poetry is back in fashion! This young poet is so full of thoughts, ideas, wonder, and talent. But she feels stymied by an overbearing and tremendously strict mother. It is difficult for X to fully express herself, and the climax of this novel when she finally does will stay with me forever!

 

 

“A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself, ” (Good Reads).