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Tutored [Kindle Edition]

Allison Whittenberg
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Wendy Anderson and Hakiam Powell are at opposite ends of the spectrum—the social spectrum, the financial spectrum, the opportunity spectrum, you name it. Wendy lives in an all-white suburb of Philadelphia, where she’s always felt like the only chip in the cookie. Her dad, who fought his way out of the ghetto, doesn’t want her mingling with “those people.” In fact, all Wendy’s life, her father has told her how terrible “those people” are. He even objects to Wendy’s plan to attend a historically black college. But Wendy feels that her race is more than just the color of her skin, and she takes a job tutoring at an inner-city community center to get a more diverse perspective on life.
Hakiam has never lived in one place for more than a couple of years. When he aged out of foster care in Ohio, he hopped a bus to Philly to start over, but now he’s broke, stuck taking care of his cousin’s premature baby for no pay, and finding it harder than ever to stay out of trouble. When he meets Wendy at the tutoring center, he thinks she’s an uppity snob—she can’t possibly understand his life. But as he gets to know her better, he sees a softer side. And eventually—much to the chagrin of Wendy’s father and Hakiam’s cousin—they begin a rocky, but ultimately enlightening, romance.
This edgy story about a star-crossed couple features strong African American characters and sparkles with smart, quirky dialogue and fresh observations on social pressures and black-on-black prejudice.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–College-bound Wendy Anderson, 16, and GED-seeking Hakiam Powell, 17, both African Americans, meet at an inner-city Philadelphia community center where Wendy volunteers as a tutor. Living and going to school in an upscale white suburb, she has felt the sting of prejudice and challenges her condescending father's attitude toward his past and his race. Hakiam has drifted from foster care in Cincinnati to his cousin's apartment where he is stuck taking care of her baby. Despite the teens' vastly different backgrounds and aspirations, a tentative romance begins. Wendy's intelligence, personal goals, persistence, and genuine concern for the baby's welfare ultimately motivate Hakiam to find a job, a safe home, and the willpower to study for his GED. Issues of prejudice, socioeconomic disparities, and family conflict are presented in this engaging story. Wendy's biased father and Hakiam's negligent cousin offer provocative profiles in parenting. Although the teens glide a bit too confidently in and out of each other's homes and neighborhoods, readers will savor the saucy verbal sparring between them, the star-crossed contrast in their backgrounds, and the upbeat ending.–Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC . (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Wendy and Hakiam’s problems couldn’t be more different. Sixteen-year-old Wendy spars with her father over her desire to attend a historically black college, while 17-year-old Hakiam struggles in his GED class and can’t seem to take advantage of his fresh start. She lives in a mostly white suburb of Philadelphia, and he is living with his cousin and her new baby in the hood. The teens’ worlds collide in an inner-city tutoring center, where they spend more time studying each other than U.S. history. For those who connected with Whittenberg’s spunky heroine, Maine, in Sweet Thang (2006) and Hollywood and Maine (2009), this might be a disappointment. From Hakiam’s welfare mother of a cousin to Wendy’s father’s cartoonish racism/classism, there are plenty of archetypes to go around, and Whittenberg’s trademark witty dialogue feels out of place in such a hard-edged novel. However, Wendy bucks the norm of most “uptight priss” stereotypes by being enlightened and interested in her roots. Plus, the exploration of privileged middle-class blacks in comparison to the poor and disenfranchised population is a striking rarity in YA fiction. Grades 9-12. --Courtney Jones

Product Details

  • File Size: 206 KB
  • Print Length: 193 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385738692
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (December 14, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F3PMG6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,088 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Storyline June 19, 2012
Two African American teens living two totally different lives cross paths in a GED center. Hakiam wants a better life, he is unemployed, uneducated and down on his luck, living a day to day existence with the help of his cousin Leesa, who has a newborn baby. Hakiam is two steps away from being homeless because Leesa is erratic. Wendy is a star student living in an almost all white suburb and is tutoring teens in the "bad" part of town, much to her father's chagrin. She wants to attend a traditional all black college but her father is against it. Wendy only has one friend at school and feels separated from her true identity.

When Hakiam and Wendy meet, their distaste for each other is evident. They constantly annoy each and yet an invisible force draws them together. Opposites attract and eventually an awkward romance develops between them.

Wendy and Hakiam are fairly stereotypical versions of the African American teen at opposite ends of the social class system. As a teacher in a urban school, I see kids who are versions of Wendy and Hakiam everyday. Some kids struggle more than others regardless of race.

I love the cover art on this book and while the book is called Tutored, their is not much traditional tutoring going on in the book. The tutoring is actually real world advice, like how to get a job and take care of a newborn baby, to how to study and deal with your parents. Tutored has an interesting storyline with characters you care about and want to succeed so they can find their way in the world. I believe most teens would enjoy this book and recognize the value of what we can learn from each other if only we take the time to listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Really Enjoyed This Read January 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. The characters and story line are very relatable whether you are from the hood or the suburbs. You get a view of two different kinds of black families dealing with current issues which is important today. I would have liked to know a little more in the end, not sure I liked the ending, but it kept my interest and I would recommend it to others.
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This is a very quick read that packs a lot into the story. Wendy Anderson is black, goes to a fancy private school where almost everyone is excludes her from parties and cliques, and has strong opinions on wanting to make a difference in the world. She'd love to become a doctor and, as the story opens, is volunteering as a tutor in a tough part of Philadelphis. Her widowed father (also black), pulled himself up from the ghetto and is so over-reactive to anything/anyone black, that's not uber-successful, (like President Obama), that Wendy sometimes feels like she's a prisoner in her own home and has to walk on eggshells to avoid her father going off on angry tangents.
When Hakiam Powell arrives at the tutoring desk, the attraction isn't instantaneous, but something about him intrigues Wendy. A lot about Wendy intrigues Hakiam. Developing a relationship isn't easy for either of them. He's come from Cincinnati where his mother dumped him and his five sisters on the foster care system. He's a decent kid, but has made some bad choices that have made things like responsibility and trust pretty alien to his life. Despite his baggage, Wendy senses a sincere and sort of funny guy behind his facade. The fact that she's not likely to be asked out at her school, coupled with her father's ballistic reaction to their growing attraction, fuels a rebellious response.
When she meets Hakiam's little niece, Malikia, her heart melts and she starts letting both of them become a bigger part of her life. It takes a major crisis involving the little girl, coupled with Wendy standing up to her father, to start things in the right direction. The story ends in a slightly ambiguous, open way, but that is probably the perfect finish for this really nice story. A great book for school and public libraries where minority teens, as well as kids who are in need of a fast easy read to improve their confidence are patrons.
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More About the Author

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a Master of Arts in English, I taught in several colleges such as Drexel, Hamline, and University of Pennsylvania. An avid traveler, I've visited all of the United States, along with Caribbean and Russia. I try to write every day.


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