professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Had lunch with the incoming VP of NCTE (don't we love using these codes in education), Kylene Beers, today. We were talking about the chapter I am writing for a collection she is editing with Linda Rief and Bob Probst on adolescent literacy. I think we finally settled on my chapter being entitled CUTTING EDGE BOOKS IN A CONSERVATIVE WORLD. I came home from this delightful lunch to finish reading the new Walter Dean Myers' STREET LOVE, a novel in verse. Myers joins a handful of other YA authors to explore this format, adding (of course) his own masterful touch along the way. This is, in some respects a contemporary retelling of a very ancient tale. Damien is the star athlete, the young man who has it all. Junice's mother is in prison and Junice must take care of her sister and her grandmother whose mind is affected by what seems to be Alzheimer's. Damien knows his family and friends will never accept Junice just as surely as Junice knows that Damien does not belong in her world. However, love ignores boundaries, and soon Junice and Damien know that their feelings are more than surface.

Myers explores the myriad of tensions associated with this unlikely pair of lovers in verse that sings even when it is dealing with Junice's visit to her mother in prison or when Damien is defending Junice's honor against a street thug. This is truly what the title promise: Street Love.

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