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Keesha's House Paperback – February 20, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. Like Virginia Euwer Wolff's True Believer (2001) and much contemporary YA fiction, this moving first novel tells the story in a series of dramatic monologues that are personal, poetic, and immediate, with lots of line breaks that make for easy reading, alone or in readers' theater. Keesha finds shelter in a house in her inner-city neighborhood and helps other troubled teens find home and family there ("like finding a sister when I'm old / enough to pick a good one"). Stephie is pregnant, and she's heartbroken that her boyfriend doesn't want the baby. Harris is gay; his dad has thrown him out. Carmen is fighting addiction. Dontay's parents are in jail, and he doesn't feel comfortable in his latest foster home. Interwoven with the angry, desperate teen voices are those of the adults in their lives: caring, helpless, abusive, indifferent. In a long note, Frost talks about the poetic forms she has used, the sestina and the sonnet. But most readers will be less interested in that framework than in the characters, drawn with aching realism, who speak poetry in ordinary words and make connections. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Helen Frost is the author of several books for young people, including Hidden, Diamond Willow, Crossing Stones, The Braid, and Keesha’s House, selected an Honor Book for the Michael L. Printz Award. Helen Frost was born in 1949 in South Dakota, the fifth of ten children. She recalls the summer her family moved from South Dakota to Oregon, traveling in a big trailer and camping in places like the Badlands and Yellowstone. Her father told the family stories before they went to sleep, and Helen would dream about their travels, her family, and their old house. “That’s how I became a writer,” she says. “I didn’t know it at the time, but all those things were accumulating somewhere inside me.”
 
As a child, she loved to travel, think, swim, sing, learn, canoe, write, argue, sew, play the piano, play softball, play with dolls, daydream, read, go fishing, and climb trees. Now, when she sits down to write, her own experiences become the details of her stories. Helen has lived in South Dakota, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Scotland, Colorado, Alaska, California, and Indiana. She currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her family.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); Reprint edition (February 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374400121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374400125
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lisa Johannes on October 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Years ago, young Keesha ran away from home, from her verbally abusive, alcoholic father. Since then, she has found comfort in the home of a local resident, Joe, who had a large house and an even larger heart. Joe provided Keesha with a roof over her head and a fresh start in life. Now it's Keesha's turn to give back. As she meets young people in trouble, she invites them to Joe's house, so that they may have a chance to sort out life's problems. Though unconventional and not in line with the state's plans for runaways, Keesha's solution is helping many local teenagers, including Stephanie who is pregnant, Dontay, who is a runaway from foster care, and Harris, a young man whose family will not accept that he is gay. We eventually watch these characters meet and learn from each other. The tragic ending serves to remind us that there's not always a happy ending, but success comes from making the most of your life.
Helen Frost has created a wise and thoughtful character in young Keesha; however, she's not perfect, which makes her more believable and more likeable. When Stephanie is accepted back into her parents' home despite her pregnancy, Keesha's comments reflect the jealousy you'd expect from a 14-year-old who always hoped that her own father would come looking for her. All poems in the book are written in sestinas and sonnets, and each contains multicultural references that will connect the readers to the characters and their environment. The situations are real and prevalent in society, and even though they're sometimes uncomfortable to talk about and read about, young readers from ages 15 on up will appreciate each character's candid, poetic narration.
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Format: Hardcover
unless you have to read for school which I did. I enjoy reading,
and I really enjoy poetry. When I heard the plot for this book
I was looking forward to reading it because it sounded interesting
and similar to other books I have read and loved. Honestly I found
it dull, and as if the author was just trying to stuff in a bunch
of characters and not concentrate on them individually. I didn't
feel heartache for any of them because I only thought of them as a whole.
It was actually sad to me how terribly it portrayed high
school because I'm in high school and she exaggerates and is mistaken
about how people act. I know it's a book and it has to be exaggerated
to be interesting but it seriously reminded me of a more adult Disney
movie with the way she wrote it.

If you're looking for a similar book, but with more genuine qualities
try Ellen Hopkins, whose characters also speak and think in a poetic form.
Another touching book with heart wrenching qualities is Staying Fat
for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. I read it twice and could still probably
read it again and get more from it. It was phenomenal and so are all the
books by Ellen Hopkins.

In short this book was a disappointment and there are much better books out there
deserving attention.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Several teenage protagonists are in various stages of self-discovery, confusion, and conflict: a girl and her reluctant boyfriend deal with her pregnancy; a boy reveals his homosexuality to his parents and is subsequently thrown out of his home; and other parents of the characters are imprisoned, abusive, or deceased. Joe is a young man who owns his aunt's home. Because she took him in when he was twelve-years-old, he now wants to help troubled youth. Even though it's Joe's house, local kids refer to it as Keesha's place. Keesha's mother is dead, her father is an alcoholic, and she stays with Joe. Knowing what it's like to be lost and alone, Keesha informs other young people that there's room at Joe's house if they need a safe haven.

Not only do the teenagers come across with their problems, but there are passages featuring the points of view of the adults who are involved with them. There's a lot of pain, but also hope for them. Written in poetic form, this is a heartrending novel about young people at crossroads in their lives.
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Format: Hardcover
Now, I am not one who traditionally likes to read poetry, but I checked this book out from the library and finished it by the end of the day, and not only that but I found it to be quite a delight. The only problem is that it seemed the book went too fast and didn't focus enough on each character and their lives at the house, or afterwards for that matter. However, I would still reccomend this book to all my friends
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Format: Hardcover
In this poem, the lives of six troubled kids entwine. Wrapping around each other like the words to a song, or maybe more like a dance, their words work hard to make everything come out right. The fear of a teen pregnancy and it's consequences to both teens, foster care, DUI, being gay, an abusive stepfather, and the words Ms. Frost uses to convey everything are spare and concise and beautiful.
Surely a Printz Award contender.
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Format: Hardcover
In the book Keesha's House , the main character, Keesha, is more than a teenager; she acts like an adult, and she is generous, kind and supportive. The other characters are Katie, Harris, Dontay, Jason, Carmen, Stephie, and Tobias, teenagers who work hard to meet their basic needs. The teenagers who are at Keesha's house have a common situation in their lives; they are neglected by their parents. They spend time at Keesha's house, the only place they trust. Even though there are some conflicts that hold them back, they never miss a day of school or work, and they are kind to each other. Their lives are not great compared to some teenagers who live with their parents but they manage to live. They feel welcome and comfortable at Keesha's house. More mature than their age, they support themselves and comfort each other. Their life experiences orient them to be courageous and more grown up than most teens. I strongly recommend that you read this book.
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