Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keesha's House by Helen Frost

Keesha has found a safe place to live, and other kids gravitate to her house when they just can’t make it on their own. They are Stephie – pregnant, trying to make the right decisions for herself and those she cares about; Jason – Stephie’s boyfriend, torn between his responsibility to Stephie and the baby and the promise of a college basketball career; Dontay – in foster care while his parents are in prison, feeling unwanted both inside and outside the system; Carmen – arrested on a DUI charge, waiting in a juvenile detention center for a judge to hear her case; Harris – disowned by his father after disclosing that he’s gay, living in his car, and taking care of himself; Katie – angry at her mother’s loyalty to an abusive stepfather, losing herself in long hours of work and school.

Stretching the boundaries of traditional poetic forms – sestinas and sonnets – Helen Frost’s extraordinary debut novel for young adults weaves together the stories of these seven teenagers as they courageously struggle to hold their lives together and overcome their difficulties.

I've read a book similar to this some months ago called The Bronx  Masquerade by Nikki Grimes, and I loved it. Now, Keesha's House is a sobering book about teenage difficulties and running away. It's hard to think of situations like that which actually happen, but it does. And it's even more real to me when one of the charcters has the same name as myself.

This book is a pretty quick read; I read it in about an hour, but it's not something to just fly through without thinking about it. These stories are special and they need to be heard. An interesting aspect of this story is that it's written in poetry instead of prose (sentences and paragraphs). Usually, I'm not too fond of poetry styled stories, but after a few chapters, I was able to swallow my pride and enjoy it.

There isn't a lot I can say about the characters because there are so many and they all are so different, but in a funny way, they all fit together. They're like the Island of Misfit Toys.  Overall, it's relatively easy to follow and it's great that you can read different perspectives of a character's tale from other characters. This book also won "Best Children's Book of the Year" award a while ago, but I have to say, it is NOT a children's book. These are very adult situations brought upon youth, and it's tough. If I understood correctly, there is a character of 14 who runs away from home! It's not really for the people who enjoy light, fluffy stories.
Cover: 4/5 stars
Plot: 3.75/5 stars

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