professornana (professornana) wrote,

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St. Iggy

K. L. Going certainly knows how to hold a reader's interest. However, her novels are more than riveting reads; they also explore the moral terrain of adolescence many times from the perspective of characters who are not mainstream. As a matter of fact, Going's characters are often those on the fringe, marginalized because of race, socio-economic status, physical appearance, and much more. In ST. IGGY, Going introduces us to Iggy Corso at the moment he is to be suspended from school for perhaps the last time. His mother is a meth addict and often gone from the apartment in the housing project where they live. Iggy's father is not there for him, either, as he is often drunk or stoned as well. Iggy escapes from his home situation to the apartment of his friend, Mo. However, now Mo is beginning to branch out from smoking pot to using other drugs. Mo makes the mistake of taking drugs from Freddie the dealer on credit. Now Mo must find a way to scrape together some money or Freddie will do him harm. Iggy accompanies Mo to his mother's swank apartment and convinces Mo to get money from by asking her to send Iggy to some kind of technical school.

Iggy is torn by his feelings of loyalty to too many players in his life. He hopes that his mother will kick the meth addiction and come back home all better even though he knows better. Conning Mo's mother is problematic as well for Iggy's growing sense of what is right and wrong. How can Iggy redeem himself, save Mo from falling into a drugged abyss, and make Mo's mother and others in his life PROUD? His decision will shock many readers.

Going never offers easy answers to these complex human situations. Instead, her stories leave readers with questions they must tackle after the reading is over. She has demonstrated this in her Printz honor book FAT KID RULES THE WORLD and in her overlooked (IMHO) middle grade novel THE LIBERATION OF GABRIEL KING. She is an author whose work will continue to challenge readers many of whom have a "been there, done that" attitude. No one has been where Iggy finds himself and no one but Iggy could do what needs to be done.

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