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MONEY HUNGRY by Sharon G. Flake

MONEY HUNGRY

By Sharon G. Flake

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0548-X
Publisher: Disney-Jump at the Sun

Flake (The Skin I’m In, 1998) gives a rock-solid portrayal of an inner-city life where money colors everything. At 13, Raspberry avidly collects opportunities to make a little green wherever she can find them. Readers see her obsession driving her to peddle rotten chocolate and spare pencils long before they learn of her history of living on the street or the tenuousness of her home security that makes her greed understandable. Her friends both express disgust at her avidity and want in on the spoils. Raspberry’s mom and girlfriends Janae, Mai, and Zora along with the guys that swirl around them leap to life as Raspberry doggedly pursues her desire to stash enough money away for some kind of safety. But there is never enough, and earnings are hard to hang onto. The energetic interaction of the projects’ neighborhood, lively language, the realistic school scenes and Raspberry’s moneymaking schemes, along with the inevitable convoluted ethical dilemmas keep the pace brisk. Suddenly, Mom erupts when she thinks Raspberry’s begun to steal, and she tosses money out the window in an effort to wake her up. The result is that their home is burglarized. Realizing they’ll never be safe there again, the two hit the streets in a move that devastates Raspberry. There’s a satisfying fairy-tale ending, but Flake successfully conveys a situation where life is precarious. Kids who live like Raspberry will find validation in seeing themselves sympathetically portrayed, and more pampered readers will find their eyes opened wide. (Fiction. 10-14)