From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Iggy Corso, 16, doesnt do drugs, even though he was born addicted to crack. He lives in a city housing project, in an apartment filled with furniture that his stoned and drunken father collects from the street. Iggys mother is an addict who has been AWOL for a month. The cool thing about the teen is that, despite his parents and his environment, he doesnt feel sorry for himself. A freshman who has failed two grades and been suspended eight times, he takes things for what they are, until he gets suspended again, pending a hearing. His principal says to him, Youve had a lot to overcome...but....We can all...do something that contributes.... After listening to this, Iggy realizes that his only chance for the future is to get back into school. The principals statement haunts him throughout the book. He enlists help from his so-called mentor/friend, Mo (who was suspended from pre-law school after being caught smoking pot), but his association with this disaffected youth from a wealthy family creates a whole new set of problems. Thick pencil lines run down the inner margins of the pages; Iggys life is like these lines, on the edge, reaching out, searching for somewhere to go. The story is told in widely spaced paragraphs, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. Like Troy Billings in Goings Fat Kid Rules the World
(Putnam, 2003), Iggy Corso is unforgettable.–Shannon Seglin, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
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When he is suspended from high school for an altercation with a teacher, Iggy feels completely misunderstood. As he waits for the hearing that will decide whether he will be expelled, he vows to change everyone's perception of him by following his principal's advice: "Do something that contributes to the world." Expecting no support from his drug-addicted mother and "stoned off his ass" father, Iggy turns to a former tutor and friend, Mo, a college dropout interested in pot and Eastern religions. Then Mo's own drug habit escalates. With Iggy tagging along, Mo heads to his wealthy parents' apartment for money, and in Mo's mother, Iggy finds the parental care he craves. Readers will want to talk about the shocking ending and its religious imagery, which raises questions about martyrdom, class politics, and the many ways that children can slip away from help. Going, the author of the Printz Honor Book Fat Kid Rules the World
(2003), grounds her story in grim, realistic urban details, and she creates a memorable character in Iggy, whose first-person voice is earnest, angry, sarcastic, and filled with small insights that reveal how people care for and mistreat each other. Teens will connect with Iggy's powerful sense that although he notices everything, he is not truly seen and accepted himself. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved