CAUGHT UP by Amir Abrams


Age Range: 14 - 18
Email this review


Kennedy, an African-American teen girl from a suburban gated community, lets her fascination with all things ’hood drive her into dangerous territory.

Her prim best friends, Jordan and Hope, have nothing but contempt for “low-budget hood roaches” and “stupid, annoying Ebonics.” Kennedy, however, seeks a boy who’s swaggerlicious and has even gotten a job at the local mall’s food court in hopes of meeting boys more her style. When Sasha, Kennedy’s co-worker, starts inviting her to parties and introducing her to boys from the ’hood, Kennedy quickly finds herself drinking, smoking weed, sneaking out of her house and becoming attached to an older boy named Malik. A lifestyle that initially seems adventurous and exciting soon leads to frightening fights, controlling behavior on Malik’s part and a scare-’em-straight climax with serious consequences. Readers see some of Kennedy’s thoughts and feelings—her frustration with her mom's and friends’ disapproval, her wonder at receiving Malik’s attention—but others remain opaque. It is never clear where Kennedy thinks Malik gets his money or even what interests her in ’hood life in the first place. Some dialogue and slang phrases feel repetitive: Sasha repeats “Miss me wit’ dat” far too often.

Sometimes rough around the edges but an engaging cautionary tale nevertheless. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7582-9478-4
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dafina/Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2014


ChildrenTHE GIRL OF HIS DREAMS by Amir Abrams
by Amir Abrams
ChildrenGET READY FOR WAR by Ni-Ni Simone
by Ni-Ni Simone
ChildrenCRAZY LOVE by Amir Abrams
by Amir Abrams


ChildrenBAD BOY by Dream Jordan
by Dream Jordan
ChildrenTHE BREAK-UP DIARIES by Ni-Ni Simone
by Ni-Ni Simone
ChildrenLUCY IN THE SKY by Anonymous
by Anonymous