3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2011
An adolescent primer that should be added to high school canons. If high schools are still requiring urban students to read "The Catcher in the Rye" then "Teenie" should certainly be added along side that read for comparative analysis; I'm tempted to reread Catcher and have the discussion with myself. Set in current day Brooklyn and centered on the life of high school freshman Martine (Teenie) Lashley, the novel speaks to the challenges - emotional and social - endured as an adolescent. Teenie is smart, naive, respectful and ambitious. She is loved and supported by caring parents; an aspect of the novel that resonates in a time when the inner city norm trends toward the opposite. Her best friend, Charise, is pretty much Teenie's polar opposite and provides the author with a ready made mechanism for conveying many of the morals of the story.
A detailed review of plot and action would render this read much less affective than if the reader simply dove into the story. There were many instances when reading a scene snatched me back some thirty years to the halls of my high school. While the greatest lessons of "Teenie" are delivered from Martine's and Charise's experiences as they negotiate high school social systems, teen desires and parental expectations; equally important is Grant's representation of parental involvement and its effect on adolescent life.
"Teenie" is a poignant and incredibly "real" debut novel. The story is delivered with easily accessible prose that captures the sounds and flavor of Brooklyn as well as the culture and dialect of the Caribbean. I'll be talking about this one with educators for a while with the hopes of getting "Teenie" added to high school reading canons. Many kids will see themselves in the characters and hopefully realize that the trials they are currently experiencing are not unique to them; and more importantly, are survivable. . Highly Recommended!
on March 13, 2012
Teenie is your typical teenager who wants to fits in. However, her goals and academic success often set her apart from others. Yet, she still yearns for a bit of attention here and there. Teenie gets her braces taken off and with the encouragement of her best friend, Cherise, gains some new-found confidence. She is further encouraged by the attentions of senior basketball star, Greg Millons. While some things seem to be looking up, Teenie learns that life is not quite simple as she tries to reach academic goals and be a good friend to Cherise. She tries to get into a competitive scholarship program that would allow her to study abroad in Spain. Teenie's naivete soon gets her into trouble and the right thing to do no longer seems so clear especially when you are a freshmen in high school.
I absolutely loved this book! Teenie's voice is so clear and strong. I found myself completely invested in her life and struggles. Even more fun, Teenie was often witty and I found myself laughing out loud for most of the book. The relationship between Teenie is Cherise is also refreshing. While not perfect, it is incredibly realistic. I felt like the dialogue was something I could have had with my best friend in high school. It was so easy to disappear into the story because I felt like I was there.
The book deals with important issues such as bullying, the dangers of the internet, sexuality, and rape. However, Mr. Grant balances the issues so well that it isn't a sad read, but a moving one. The book is both character and plot driven and I read it in one sitting.
It reminds me a bit of Speak by Laurie Halse Alderson but the touches of culture (Teenie's parents are West Indian) and the friendship between Teenie and Cherise sets it apart.
on November 23, 2011
"Teenie" is about a girl who lives in Brooklyn, New York and that is all about getting good grades so she can be accepted into a program that takes students to Spain for one semester. But life becomes complicated from minute to the next. Having a BFF that has an online love and having the attention of the Captain of the Basketball Team in her school can become overwhelming and distracting. Just when you think things are looking up for you, life teaches you another lesson.
One thing I can say about this book is, I'm so happy I don't have a daughter. Because had I have a daughter and she comes home with the drama this poor child went through. I would definitely be arrested. Teenie isn't your average teenager today. Today's teens is all about boys, drugs and sex. And I know this because I have teenage nieces and nephews and I see that mess they go through. But Teenie is more about her grades and her books. She's a bit on the naive side. As things are looking up, she has the attention of the Captain of the Basketball Team, her grades are good and her BFF are closer than ever. But things aren't what they seem to be. Stuck between doing what's right and not losing her BFF or her new boy interest is when everything changes. And that's when she goes through the most life changing experiences alone. Basically a typical day in the life of many teenagers.
Christopher Grant wrote a story that touches you immediately. And what's sad about it is, that these things really happen. And some of those things has happened to "us". He shows how life as a teenager today is so much more intense and more complicated. Makes me thankful that I had my teenage years in the 90's. Though my teenage years wasn't a breeze either but I handled myself correct and I'm a pretty grounded person. But with today's teenagers when it comes to drugs, sex and peer pressure, they get lost in the struggle. And if we as parents don't pay close attention to our children. We will never really know what's going on and why our children are acting the way they do. Christopher Grant has definitely opened my eyes more to today's teens and what they go through.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars and a definite Good Choice for Reading. I recommend this book to anyone who has teen daughters. Read it first and then hand over to your daughters. Have them read it and then sit down with them and discuss it. Ask questions and most of all LISTEN.
on September 5, 2011
I had basically no expectations when I first started reading Teenie - the description doesn't sound like much, and it's not a book I've read loads of reviews for. But I'm glad I decided to read this one, and I was pleasantly surprised - Teenie is a fresh and realistic coming-of-age story! Not having one set main topic seemed like a bad thing at first, but that's one of the things I enjoyed most about this book. It touches loads of issues without being a preachy issue-book, and the subtlety is great - it's the kind of book that could mean something different to every reader, in a good way.
My favorite part of Teenie are probably the characters. Even though she's younger than most protagonists I read about (14), she is so easy to relate to, and I felt for her throughout the story. Her voice and the narration are unique but still realistic. The secondary characters are quirky and interesting. I loved reading about Teenie's father and his Bereisms (weird sayings only he uses - they're hilarious) and Teenie's relationship with her parents and older brothers. Many of the scenes with Teenie's family had me laughing out loud. Teenie's relationship with Cherise and her other friends is dynamic and realistic, too.
***The next paragraph contains spoiler-ish information!***
The only character I didn't get was Greg. That whole storyline just didn't make sense to me - if he's such a popular senior and has girls lined up to go out with him, why would he have to force a freshman to do anything with him?
The writing is really good - like I said, Teenie's voice is authentic and fresh. I love how the story is entertaining and funny, but also thought-provoking and touching.
Teenie is a great debut I think has been overlooked by many. It's a realistic portrayal of teenage life, dealing with lots of interesting and important issues without being preachy - a sweet and touching coming-of-age story. I definitely recommend it!
Freshman, Martine (Teenie) is at the top of her class, she's been working hard to get accepted to Young Scholars Study Abroad Program. Getting in would mean a free trip to Spain.
After Teenie gets her braces off, Cherise, the best friend convinces Teenie to wear something boys will notice. The new look catches the eye of Gregory, a senior and basketball captain.
While Teenie is book smart she needs Cherise help navigating outside of the classroom. After the two have a falling out. Teenie has no one turn to and ends up in a compromising position with Gregory.
Grant doesn't create any wild and unbelievable scenes, the truth of possibility is going to catch many reluctant readers. From Teenie falling for a senior with bad intentions to Cherise chatting online with someone in college.
Teenie's parents are West Indian. The author does an excellent job of intertwining Teenie's cultural background into the story. It was such a pleasure to read a hard too part down contemporary YA novel with a Black female character with Caribbean roots.
"My dad has these sayings - I call them Bereisms and teefin is one that he uses most frequently. Teefin or stealing is done by a teef (thief) or when my dad's really angry, a teefah. It's no wonder that growing up I thought Queen Latifah was a criminal mastermind."
Teenie is a very believable and likeable character.
"At Tech, the lunchroom is the place to be seen. Since I roll with Cherise, I get to sit in the cool section with other freshman. We have to wait our turn before we can mingle with the upperclassman. In our section, the middle of the northwest area, we sit with our clique.
Our area is prime real estate, not too far from the lunch line and within earshot of the football team. Today, for the first time ever I heard them asking about me, the shorty in the Wade dress.
I really liked Teenie. (The story and the girl) ages 13up
This is the third book I have read in the last few month which is categorized for young adults, and I found myself, a 40-something-year-old, engrossed in the story. I reminisced on my high school days and my best friend Noreen. As soon as we got home from school and did our homework, Noreen and I were on the phone.
Meet Martine (Teenie for short) and Cherise, who have been BFF's (best friends forever) since the third grade and their mode of conversation once they get home from school is instant message. They are as different as oil and water. Teenie excels at academics, while Cherise has no interest in it whatsoever. Cherise is more interested in fun, boys and cheerleading. The story opens with Teenie working hard to get accepted into a study program abroad, which would allow her to visit Spain for free. The "Young Scholars Study Abroad Program" will not only add some culture to her young life, but also afford her the opportunity to get out of her own backyard of Brooklyn.
As fate would have it, life is real and it rears its ugly head. Teenie and Cherise go through a period where they are not speaking, and without the street smarts of her friend Cherise, could the dangers of high school blanket and smother this freshman?
Teenie is a remarkable read, which journeys straight for the readers' heart. It's a story of the trials and the pains of growing up. I absolutely enjoyed how Grant delivered Teenie's story and her dilemmas dealing with school, family, friends and a secret crush. I'm also amazed at how well he wrote from the female perspective. Good job!!
Christopher Grant's first novel does what he wanted to do: create a female teen protagonist who's heartfelt, honest and under pressure. Her father is strict and demanding, her brothers intent on pranking her, her best friend starting a questionable online fling and the boy she has a crush on is interested in much more than she can handle, and willing to go to extreme lengths to get it. Teenie is an engaging and personable narrator; she doesn't exaggerate her circumstances, but is looking to do well in school and find a way to escape, through a study abroad program, a life that's feeling increasingly hemmed in. She's always been a good girl, but after she angers her crush by escaping his attempt to sexually assault her, she winds up in the middle of major drama, with girls ready to fight her, her best friend not speaking to her, and her family clueless. She wants to tell someone, but things are even strained with her nerdy pal Garth, who looks out for her but can only do so much.
Teenie isn't as tough as some of her peers, but nor is she totally lacking in street smarts. I was sucked in to her story, and Grant portrays the way high school can throw even the most determined, good student down a path where trouble is hard to escape. Grant doesn't try to pretty up either the various pressures Teenie faces, but shows her to be smart and resourceful and sympathetic, a girl who feels trapped by her circumstances but doesn't wallow in that despair and, in learning to stand up for herself, forges her own path that makes those around her look at her in a new light.
on January 1, 2011
I am a woman in my 30's who couldn't help but think back to my high school days as I read this book. But the one thing that I kept thinking was, "how did a grown man capture the teenage girl's experience and perspective so well"? Christopher Grant wrote with honesty, humor, sincerety, and (I'm still trying to get over it)authenticity as I traveled back through time and relived some of my most terrifying moments of "what do I say to a boy", to realizing that "a boy that looks good doesn't necessarily mean he had a brain", to "do I listen to my parents who haven't a clue as to what I'm going through right now or do I listen to my friends who also don't seem to have a clue as to what I'm going through right now"?! LOL. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to take a familiar walk down memory lane or who wants to let a certain teen know that she isn't the only one going through things. This book may spark a conversation or two that will eventually foster more conversations as one navigates on the path from child to young adult. Reading this book didn't only take me back to the days of being high school freshman, but it also reminds me of just how far I've come. Kudo's to Christopher Grant for making me smile. Keep up the good work! I wouldn't mind seeing another Teenie book to see if he's really talking about me. ;-)
No matter what your age I am convinced that author Christopher Grant's TEENIE has something that you can not only relate to but will help you appreciate about the lives of the young people today. It is our nature to judge people based on what we see, but the characters Grant gives us allows us to see that there is a backstory that is not always noticeable at first sight.
Martine aka Teenie is a young girl like so many who has a good head on her shoulders but she has to face issues that threaten to destroy everything that she has hoped for her future. Issues such as bullying, peer pressure and of course the dangers of the internet plague Teenie and those around her, and at the end of the day, she has to decide exactly what is right for her instead of what might seem right to her.
This book is perfect for us as we head into a New Year that has the promise of greatness. TEENIE will help us to appreciate the importance of giving necessary credit and guidance to our youth and appreciate that they are dealing with problems that we might not have imagined when we were their age.
Passionate and poignant, TEENIE sends the world a powerful message that we do well to appreciate. If this is Grant's debut, it is obvious that he is going to be around thrilling readers for quite some time.
on April 18, 2011
Teenie (Martine) is hard-working and comes from a strict West Indian household. Her best friend Cherise meets a guy online and Greg, the to-die-for basketball player in her school, starts flirting with Teenie. She's trying to ace her exams to get into a study-abroad program, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to focus on her studies. When Cherise and her have a falling out and Greg becomes more aggressive, Teenie is in a bind with these new challenges and dangers. The characters and situations are realistic. I also enjoyed the multi-cultural facets of the novel found in Teenie's parents and upbringing.