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When the Black Girl Sings Mass Market Paperback – April 7, 2009
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
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"Readers will enjoy the distinctive characters, lively dialogue, and palette of adolescent and racial insecurities in this contemporary, upbeat story."--School Library Journal
"Without sugarcoating anything, Wright easily juggles the many issues found in the book with wit, compassion and humor. The writing is clear, succinct, and never condescending. The main characters are shown as multifaceted people with strengths and weaknesses effectively adding to the authenticity of the book."--VOYA
"Lahni's clear, first-person narrative is so authentic, expressing Lahni's identity conflicts even as tension mounts to an exciting climax."--Booklist --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
She doesn't understand why a Caucasian couple would adopt an African American baby. She doesn't understand why they would enroll that girl in a private school where she is the only African American. She doesn't understand why some of the girls at the school are so snotty and so ignorant, especially towards her. And she definitely doesn't understand why her parents are continuously arguing, when just weeks ago they would all watch movies together as a happy family.
What she does know is that she doesn't fit in, that her comfort zone involves keeping to herself, sometimes not even telling her best friend, Katie, everything, and that she has to be strong, especially for her mother, and that somewhere inside she has this amazing voice.
Mr. Faringhelli knows this, too, and wants Lahni to sing in a competition. Of course, Lahni isn't so sure about this, since it is out of her comfort zone, and she just doesn't think she could do it. Then the perfect timing comes into place when she decides to sing for her church's choir; what better way to practice singing, especially in front of a live audience. She not only surprises herself with this bold move, but also her mother. It's finally a place for Lahni to improve, to fit in, to forget all of her worries that continue to trouble her. It is the perfect escape.
Even though she does have the choir to comfort her, she knows that she will still have to deal with the girls at her school, and with her father leaving all of the time on little trips during the week, acting clueless and not wanting to talk about the situation at all. And she still has to deal with the singing competition.Read more ›
Something I admire about this novel is that it is very clear that the boy who is stalking Lahni is out of line. So often, that rude boy character is revealed to have a soft interior and ends up in a relationship with the protagonist. This is not the case in When the Black Girl Sings and I feel that the novel is better for it.
Bil Wright does not tread on new territory here, but he does it with great respect for Lahni. I love teen novels where characters find their voice, both figuratively and literally.
It is refreshing to read the work of a Black author that does not focus on violence, drugs, and innercity life. Indeed, Wright has set his story in a well-to-do Connecticut suburb.
This is not the typical "where do I fit in?" teen venture. Instead, the author touches on sensitive topics for substance instead of dramatic impact. The impact of this story, though, is one that will have a positive effect on the reader.
In his earlier work, Wright established himself as more than an able craftsman. He continues to uphold his impressive reputation in this effort. This story is very well suited for a television adaptation and it leaves the reader looking forward to a sequel.
The story is told from Lahni's point of view as she navigates her parents' divorce, her feelings of being different, and a musical contest at school.
Lahni learns of the school's singing contest and a friend nominates her to compete. A supportive teacher will not let her back out of the contest.
In the meantime, the pressures build for Lahni: she's trying to fit in at the all-white school; her parents are going through a divorce because her father has a girlfriend; and Onyx 1, from the boys' school next door (who believes himself to be black but isn't) harasses Lahni to get her attention. She finally gets him to back off. Lahni joins a church with her mother, and eventually becomes part of the choir and uses it as practrice for the singing contest.
Lahni is dealing with a lot of issues at once. However, there is a happy ending to this book---Lahni wins the contest and finds herself along the way. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or different, can identify with and relate to the feelings Lahni expresses. I recommend this book for Grades 5 - 8.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great youth fiction.....good story line dealing with adoption, and the adoption of children with different ethnic heritage...Published 9 months ago by Rebecca Whorton
Most people know their weaknesses because many people are willing to point them out. Unfortunately it’s easier to believe the negative than to rise to the positive. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Roger
This book is really amazing, specially if you love reading. IF you read this book you will fall in love with it.Published on May 19, 2013 by Amazon Customer