In this entry in The Gift series featuring a group of African-American teens, Rashawn is granted a paranormal ability that enables him to detect affection.
Rashawn despairs that he can never tell when girls really like him. He chooses to have his left ear grow warm whenever he is around someone who truly likes someone else. He’s embarrassed to learn that his ear grows toasty when he’s around his parents, who remain crazy about each other. He realizes that he will have to get any prospective girlfriends alone in order to be able to tell if the girl really likes just him instead of anyone in the vicinity. He joins a cooking class at the local teen center and meets a cute girl named Kennedy, but his ear stays cold. Meanwhile, he can’t figure out why his ear burns whenever he’s around his friend Terrell. Can Rashawn get that ear burning when he’s alone with Kennedy? Karre cleverly uses an intrusive narrator to lead readers to make inferences and keep the pages turning: “You know who Kennedy’s dad is. Oh yes, you do.” She doesn’t shy from weighty issues, tackling racial profiling (or “driving while black”) from both the driver’s and law enforcement’s side. The ultraslim book has the chance to appeal to an audience that may be reluctant to try a longer book.
Plenty of punch in a short space. (Paranormal romance. 12-18)