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Gr 8 Up–Shavonne, who has gone from one juvenile detention center to another since junior high, will be moving out of the system on her 18th birthday. Fury and frustration are huge obstacles she must conquer by coming to grips with a drug-addicted prostitute mother; abusive foster parents who allowed her to be raped; a father who died in jail; giving up her own baby to the foster-care system; and forgiving herself for an accident that injured her beloved baby brother. Her personal challenges are compounded by troubled and desperate fellow inmates; several cruel, manipulative, corrupt guards who beat and taunt them; and youth counselors without a clue, who hurt more than help. Luckily, the last embers of hope deep within Shavonne's soul are flamed by one kind guard and an empathetic and straightforward counselor who successfully reaches through to her at the 11th hour. Shavonne's first-person narrative captures readers' attention and never lets go. Short, compelling chapters keep up the tempo as her shocking and sad past and present are revealed and her desire for a better future takes center stage. Readers will forgive the slightly pat ending, reassured that Shavonne is finally on the right track. Language and situations are appropriately coarse and startling for the setting, and those teens who applauded the urban survivors in Sapphire's Push (Vintage, 1998) and Coe Booth's Tyrell (Scholastic, 2006) will do the same for Shavonne.–Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Smart, angry, and desperate, Shavonne, 17, is in juvenile detention again, and in her present-tense, first-person narrative, she describes the heartbreaking brutality that she suffered before she was locked up, as well as the harsh treatment, and sometimes the kindness, she encounters in juvie. With a mother who is a crack-addicted prostitute, and a father she never knew who died in prison, she was sent into the foster-care system as a young child. One foster mother needed money for drugs, so she forced Shavonne, 11 at the time, to go with a man who raped her. While she was locked up, Shavonne gave birth, and she is glad that her daughter is now in a kind foster home. As the title suggests, the story leaves room for something like hope; with all the pain and sorrow Shavonne endures, she is never broken. Not only does the African American teen survive, but she also nurtures needy fellow inmates, and she bonds with her counselor even as she tries to escape a vicious, racist supervisor. More than a situation, the story builds to a tense climax: What is the secret Shavonne cannot even think about? Shavonne’s voice—witty, tender, explicit, and tough—will grab readers. In the tradition of Walter Dean Myers’ and Jacqueline Woodson’s novels, this winner of Delacorte’s 2009 prize for best YA debut gets behind the statistics to tell it like it is. Grades 9-12. --Hazel RochmanSee all Editorial Reviews
This is a very great book I've actually cried and I really felt Shavonne's emotions and feelings
5 Stars !!!!!
If realistic fiction that highlights the rampant never-ending cycle of societal problems appeals to you, this book is something you want to read. Read morePublished on June 19, 2013 by j.p. levi, author
This was an okay novel .... I just wish it could have shared more of her background as well as the outcomePublished on May 15, 2013 by tonya griffin
This is a good book for girls who don't like to read. Strong language, but this is reality. Good job of describing a troubled teenage girl in residential treatment.Published on May 3, 2013 by N2LITRC
What is it like when you lose hope? What is it like when you see life from only one viewpoint? These are some of the questions that our youth are being faced with today. Read morePublished on April 27, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Young adult fiction is not a genre I generally seek out, given my lack of interest in vampires or teen romance. Read morePublished on April 16, 2011 by Jill Dianne Swenson, Ph.D.