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YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME by Sharon G. Flake


Stories and Poems About Boys

by Sharon G. Flake

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4231-0014-0
Publisher: Disney-Jump at the Sun

Poetry and fiction come together as Flake examines the world through young African-American male voices. Tyler’s tale of constant female attention segues into La’Ron’s heartfelt letter to his uncle disclosing his HIV status. Harvey walks the streets with his obese father while Eric heads out into North Philadelphia in the brutal summer heat. Tow-Kaye is 17 and marrying his pregnant girlfriend, while Jeffery is 15 and being seduced by an older woman. Similar voices and unremarkable vignettes blend together into an afterschool special of sorts—a disappointment from such a powerful and moving author. Many of the poems have pop and James’s diary record of suicide, emotional trauma and abuse has some resonance, but they can’t support the weaker works. A very short resource list offers contact information for call lines regarding abuse, pregnancy, suicide and HIV. A rare letdown from an otherwise excellent author. (Short stories/poetry. YA)