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Sister Mischief Hardcover – July 12, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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$15.11 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Editorial Reviews


"This is a feminist love letter to my own mischievous sisters."
- Laura Goode — Quote

About the Author

Laura Goode was raised in Minneapolis and received her BA and MFA in English and writing from Columbia University. She has written and directed two full-length plays, and her poetry has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, Cannibal, and Narwhal. She lives in San Francisco.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (July 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763646407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763646400
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,576,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Goode's first novel for young adults, Sister Mischief, was released by Candlewick Press on July 12, and her poems, essays, and criticism have appeared in Boston Review, The Rumpus Denver Quarterly, JERRY, Dossier, Fawlt, Cannibal, The Faster Times, and other publications. She lives in San Francisco, where she roams the streets in search of passing divas and noir-y neon signs to put in her new mystery novel. She loves talking to strangers.

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Format: Hardcover
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.

Esme and her BFFs Marcy, Tess, and Rowie make up Sister Mischief, the fiercest undiscovered all-girl hip-hop group in the area. When not working on rhymes and practicing, they hang out and bug the crap out of each other the way only best friends can. When the principal of their school in wealthy SWASP suburb Holyhill makes a rule against hip-hop at school because it "incites violence," the girls start 4H, a combination gay-straight alliance and club for discussing hip-hop and rap. Well, they try to. Principal Nordling won't give them approval unless they prove the club is worth something. Meanwhile, Esme is experiencing first love with another girl--and maybe first heartbreak.

Hip-hop and rap are not my favorite genres. Actually, they're two of my lest favorite genres, saved from the bottom spot only because I dislike heavy metal more (that is entirely too much noise for me to handle). The slang and the dated name-dropping was confusing at times, but I expected to love this book when I finally read it. Did I? Yes, I did. So much so that when these girls performed, I rapped the lyrics to myself.

Esme, Marcy, Tess, and Rowie are all trying to find and define themselves just like any teenager girl would, and their search for identity, along with the trials of growing up, is what this book is about. I can remember having the same struggles and even now, I'm still struggling with finding who I am. Readers will identify well with these girls even if the reader has nothing in common with them.

The cast is strikingly diverse in ethnicity and sexual orientation. The conflict of how difficult it can be to be different in a town that thinks different (such as not being straight or white) gets the spotlight for a while too.
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Format: Hardcover
Sister Mischief is a gay romp through the suburbs of Minneapolis. Gay as in not straight, and romp as in young people up to no good in all the best ways.

It introduces Esme Rockett (aka MC Ferocious) and her crew of friends/collaborators: Marcy (DJ SheStorm), Tess (The ConTessa), and Rowie (MC Rohini). As a Jewish(ish?) lesbian, a heterosexual butch backslid Catholic, a rebel Lutheran teen queen, and a desi thrift store genius, these ladies don't exactly blend into the background of Holyhill -- a place pretty shamelessly defined by its SWASP (Straight White Anglo Saxon Protestant) majority. When their high school presents a code of conduct that bans anything related to hip-hop from the school premises, the girls take action and form a hip-hop discussion group slash gay-straight alliance. Needless to say, a book's worth of trouble and goodness ensues.

I expected Sister Mischief to alienate me a little bit because I don't listen to much hip-hop, but I'm happy to report that it's completely accessible to anyone who knows what it is to be young and in love with any music scene, whether as a performer or just a fan. The girls do occasionally come off a bit like music professors expounding on theses about the roles of race, gender, and sexuality in hip-hop. They are portrayed as a pretty nerdy crew, so perhaps this is justified, but it did give me a little ache for the youthful state of just loving that is part of what makes music such an intense experience for teenagers. In any case, the rhymes Ez and Rowie throw down are awesome and add something cool and authentic to the story, so that's a plus.

I was impressed with Goode's frank portrayal of teenage sexuality and casual drug use.
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Format: Hardcover
Esme, Tess, Rowie, and Marcy are typical high school juniors in most areas. They are good students with their eyes set on top-notch colleges. For the most part, they don't give their parents any grief, and they keep their noses clean in school. However, they do have one passion - and when school authorities declare that this passion is no longer to be allowed at school, the girls rebel.

Holyhill High School is adding a new policy to its school conduct code, and each student is required to sign it. The new policy outlaws hip-hop music and any apparel, or behavior, associated with it. This has Esme and her friends seething.

The girls may not look like it, but they are hip-hop rappers to the core. They call themselves Sister Mischief, and they are good. Tess is the vocalist, Marcy provides the beat, and Esme and Rowie work together to create the rhymes. Hip-hop lets them express who they are. Tess used to hang out with the conservative Christian majority who populate the school district, but she stepped over to the hip-hop side when she began doubting her faith. Marcy's rhythm comes from her involvement in the high school band's drumline. Rowie is the daughter of two Indian doctors, and Esme lives with her artistic father and considers herself a true word nerd and a lesbian.

When news of the new anti-hip-hop policy reaches the girls, they all agree they will not be signing it. Their real plan for rebellion comes when they are called to the principal's office about their refusal to sign. As spokeswoman of the group, Esme announces that they are starting a new school club devoted to the study of hip-hop music and the possibility of using it to create a positive view of sexuality, especially regarding women.
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