Dime’s desire to save her friend transcends artifice and approaches heroism, making for a tremendously affecting novel.

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DIME

Frank's first novel since Wrecked (2005) is a searing examination of teenage prostitution.

Dime is 14, loves books, and turns tricks. After her foster mother kicked her out, living with Daddy is like something out of a dream. Daddy buys her clothes and sticks up for her against Brandy and L.A., the other girls in the house—and he's so gentle when he takes her virginity. When Daddy needs Dime to make some money, she joins L.A. and Brandy on the track, having sex for coin. The arrival of new girl Lollipop, just 11, makes Dime realize she doesn't love Daddy anymore—and she doesn't want this life. It's only when they realize Lollipop is pregnant that Dime knows what she'll do. If she writes a note that explains everything, people will take care of Lollipop's baby. But what she'll do to protect Lollipop and her baby can only end one way for Dime herself—and it's a sacrifice she's ready to make. The story is related in flashbacks as Dime ponders her note, taking inspiration from The Book Thief and imagining writing it in various allegorical voices: Sex, Violence, Money. Since her overall narration is fairly straightforward, the note device often feels self-conscious rather than artful.

Dime’s desire to save her friend transcends artifice and approaches heroism, making for a tremendously affecting novel. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3160-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.

I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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