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Maxine Banks is Getting Married Hardcover – September 28, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596435135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596435131
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,409,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–Maxine Banks's friend Tia has just gotten married and moved away, and Maxine decides that she wants to do the same so that she can get away from her mother and her mother's domineering live-in boyfriend. She convinces her boyfriend, Brian, also 17 and still in high school, that they should get married. To get permission, since they are underage, they tell their parents that Maxine is pregnant. With no idea what this commitment will entail, Maxine steamrolls over all of Brian's doubts and questions. Everything falls apart, however, when Maxine finds out that Brian has become involved with their neighbor, Shell, and that she is, in fact, pregnant. Wondering how she's going to pay the rent and other bills after she kicks him out, she gets a reprieve from an unlikely source–her father-in-law. He'll cover all her expenses and give her some extra money if she will keep his middle-school-aged niece, Demonee. Maxine agrees and tries to help the surly, troubled girl. The title is misleading since Maxine gets married and separated within the first 100 pages. The remaining story is about her life after the separation. Although the teen matures a bit from the foolish and somewhat selfish girl she was in the beginning, most of the characters are one-dimensional and stereotyped. The late addition of Demonee's possible homosexuality seems designed to add another demographic group to the mix. This wordy, often repetitious novel may appeal to some girls, but the lack of action will limit its readership.Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

From the author of When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune (2000) comes this reversal of the usual unwanted-pregnancy story. Maxine, 17, and her longtime boyfriend, Bryan, are always careful to use protection when they have sex. But when Maxine decides that she wants to marry Bryan, in part to get away from Mama and her many men, she pretends to be pregnant. Her plan backfires. Bryan has made another girl pregnant, and he has to help her out. Or does he? Is it his child? Along with the anguish of betrayal, there is also tenderness, as when Maxine cares for a young, desperate, and angry girl, Demonee, 13, who is dumped by her family and harassed by a lesbian classmate who makes her steal. Some readers may find that there is just too much packed into this long, episodic novel, but the spot-on, unsentimental teen viewpoint; the quarrel scenes filled with fast, angry talk (“Go to hell!” “You go first!”); and the honest story of love, heartbreak, and kindness will keep teens hooked. Grades 9-12. --Hazel Rochman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Long ago I read Lori Aurelia Williams' book, How Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune and enjoyed it. I requested Maxine Banks be purchased by the library after reading a few positive things about this one.

At first I wasn't sure what to think. Maxine is just seventeen and wanting to get married. She has had a long time boyfriend, Brian, who seems like a nice, responsible young man. Her mother is more concerned with her boyfriend than Maxine, at least that is how Maxine feels. As Maxine spoke, I could see so many of my young African American girls speaking just as she does. Williams has their language down pat.
While this book is about a teen marriage, it is also about much more. It becomes obvious early on that Maxine and Brian are not ready for marriage. For Maxine it is an escape from her mother and her mother's boyfriend. She fakes a pregnancy in order for her mother and Brian's parents to agree to the two of them getting married. But once they are, Brian is busy working trying to earn money. At first this seems virtuous and responsible, until it is revealed that Brian is actually involved with Shel, the teen age girl who has had her sister hire him for odd jobs. Now the two girls are involved in a dispute over their man.

Again, while reading I was struck by how right Williams has this story. This is a story that has been played and replayed countless times. There is one reference to the movie Waiting to Exhale where Angela Bassett sets fire to her husband's possessions that I found a good visual description of what these girls may be like as grown women.

Maxine's marriage is one plotline, but while Brian and Maxine's marriage flounders, Maxine is asked by Brian's dad to watch over his troubled middle school niece.
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