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Lives of Our Own Paperback – January 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141305894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141305899
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When an African-American teen takes on racism in a small Southern town, she is drawn into a relationship with a member of an elitist all-white club. "This insightful novel raises some provocative questions about die-hard traditions," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10?When Shawna Riley's parents divorce, she leaves Denver and moves with her father back to his hometown of Dessina, Georgia. She soon discovers that the students at Dessina High School are somewhat distant toward newcomers, especially an intelligent and wealthy black girl. Surprised by the segregated activities of this integrated high school, Shawna writes an editorial for the school newspaper asking that the Old South Ball, a tradition for the white students, be open to all. Her editorial results in violent reactions, especially from Kari Lang, a member of an exclusive club for white girls. To make matters worse, Shawna's childhood friend, Marlon, tells her that he is secretly dating Natalie, a white girl who is about to be initiated into the Etoile Club. Shawna's willingness to challenge tradition, and her desire to help Marlon and Natalie reveal their relationship, send her on a journey that ends with an unlikely friendship with Kari. Along the way, Shawna learns something about her father's past that makes her want to continue her efforts toward achieving racial equality and harmony. The conflict of the story is centered around racial prejudice, but first-amendment issues are also evident. Hewett tells the story in third person, which gives readers insight into the minds of all of the characters, creating a clear understanding of the conflict. Teenagers will admire Shawna's strength and courage, and they will hopefully make the connection between free speech and social change. A great novel for discussion.?Pat Scales, Greenville Middle School, SC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
The story Lives Of Our Own is a story of two teenagers learning to overcome the feeling of racism in their school. In Dessina, the school Kari and Shawna attend, black's and white's do not date each other or attend the South Ball, their school's famous dance, together. Kari and Shawna had never been friends because of Kari having white skin and being popular as opposed to Shawna's black skin and a different group of friends. When they find out their parents had dated in the past, they become friends, feeling they share a secret. Kari's popular friends object to this, because Shawna wrote an article in the school newspaper implying that black's and white's should be able to attend the South Ball together. Shawna suggests that maybe their parents had a baby together, and that is why they both seem to have disappeared during their Senior Year. Together, the two teens drive to Tennessee, where Kari's mom had moved, to find out more. When they find out that her mom had to move just because of people feeling hatred towards their mixed race relationship, Kari and Shawna realize how much they have to share. When a similar relationship breaks out at their school, everyone realizes how much black and white relationships have to go through. Kari and Shawna now share a friendship understanding this. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels they have been treated unfairly due to their race. They would see they weren't alone and it happens to others. You can learn a lot by reading this book and learn about different types of friendships and relationships.
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Format: Hardcover
At some point I really found myself engrossed in "Lives of our own." The story focused heavily on Shawna and her attempt to change a racist school and their traditional Old South Ball, where white teenagers are master over the black teenagers who had to be slaves (Civil war time-line I believe). I really cannot relate to Shawna with her struggle, but I surely can commend the character in what she was doing, even when everyone was against her and she doubted herself. I cannot say that I enjoyed the non-subtle attempt that the author was trying to pull of in this story with racism. Not to mention the fact that the story seemed to focus more the weakest character in the story, Kari, (a prep girl who is a member of the Etoile Club) instead of the main character of the story, Shawna. When the two somehow, form a relationship upon speculating that Kari's white mother and Shawna's black father had an affair, thus explaining why Kari's mother was sent away someplace when she was younger. The story starts get interesting, but stumbles on its feet when it reaches its climax. But by far the worst part of the story has to be the fact that Hewett only hinted at racism within the halls of the school and never really not into it. The reaction of white teenager's objections to a black teen and a white teen having a "romantic" relationship with each other (the article Shawna rote, as well as her best friend's girlfriend's point of view on the redundancy of the Old South Bal), really just felt watered down. The author never dives any deeper than a person wadding in shallow waters. If there was one POV, I could favor it, it was Shawna's. I really couldn't get into Kari's personality or POV on the entire situation; It was like reading something I've read before. All in all I enjoyed "Lives of our own", I just wish it could've been better in terms of storylines, the focus on the subject at hand and characters themselves. [a 3 out of 5]
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By Katie V on February 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This tale of conflict lying between blacks and whites is told form the point of view from two girls: Shawna and Kari. Shawna, editor of the newspaper, moves to this small Georgian town after her parents divorced shortly before. Shawna comes from a wealthy African-American family and becomes the envy of Kari, a small town girl with little knowledge of the outside world.
The beginning chapter of the book starts with a rock flying through a window, thus setting Shawna and Kari on a collision course with one another. While these two teenage girls might think they have nothing in common, they soon learn differently. Once arriving at her new school, Shawna realizes that this town that her father grew up in is not like her hometown in Colorado. Here blacks and whites still do not see each other as equal. While there are no set rules dividing them, they still do not socialize or concern themselves with each other's business. When Shawna's friend wants his relationship with a white girl recognized, a whole new set of obstacles arises.
At the same time, Kari's world becomes so intertwined with Shawna's after a recent discovery that she finds it hard to choose between the life she knew and the new life that Shawna shows her.
This story is well written and keeps the reader in suspense. Even though the general public believes that racism died in the 1960s, this book suggest otherwise. What happens when two girls are thrown at each other with all their differences exposed on the surface, while, much to their dismay, underneath they learn they hold strikingly similar pasts.
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Format: Paperback
My book was about two young girls with nothing the same. Their names were Kari and Shawna. These girls were two different people in two different worlds. Kari was whit and Shawna was blck. Where these girls lived was a very racist town.
When Shawna began school at Dessina High she joined the school newspaper. No one liked her because of her color and Shawna didn't care. She found out about this Old Southern Ball and she figured she would put in her two sense. This was where all the white kids got together and made fun of all the blacks. When Kari read about this she went to Shawna's house late at night and through a rock through her window. Shawna chased her down the road and caught her but when Shawna saw who it was she let her go because she was in shock!!! The became friends when they found out thier parents were friends.
This book was very interesting. It gave me a good perspective on life. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn the inside on racism and really understand there isn't a true answer on why it should really happen.
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