From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10?Playing with shape and rhythm is nothing new for Adoff, and here he uses those techniques to illuminate the thoughts of adolescents. Words fall on the pages as images might come and go from a teen's mind and mouth. From the very brief (one poem is only four words long) to the full-page barrage of emotions, the poet is quite adept at listening to the voices in readers' heads. "Will I ever learn to love me first?" and "Will the sun for real rise up tomorrow?" are just two of the alternately philosophical and realistic concerns just bursting to be released from the jumble of the teenage mind. Adoff uncovers the masks teens wear, poses the question of love versus lust, offers a look at the dangers of drug use, and presents telling glimpses of body image. There is a beat to many of the selections, keeping readers moving forward. The poems' free-form shapes enforce the transitory and flashing images. In one sense, the structure aids the readability, making the verses appear as quick reads. But there is a great deal of depth here, with some of the selections providing more of an intellectual challenge. These flashes are fast and funky and will have readers questioning not only what poetry is (and isn't), but also taking another look at who and where they are in light of today's fast-moving issues and society.?Sharon Korbeck, formerly at Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7^-10. Adoff addresses his poetry to modern, urban teens in a gritty, hip-hop style. He manages to create poetry from the universal concerns of love and loneliness, the specific teen concerns of acne and braces, and unpleasant realities like selling and taking drugs. The relentless self-loathing of adolescence is captured in poems such as "Listen to the Voice in Your Head" ("No one will ever love you / and the world will turn its great equatorial back on you, / and you will live in a swamp of defeat and self-pity" ), carefully keeping on the right side of the line between self-deprecating humor and adult zingers. William Cotton's photo collages use reality but, like the poems, give it a twist: the two together may renew the perspectives of both adult and teen readers. Susan Dove Lempke