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Kinda Like Brothers Paperback – September 29, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Life is a very complicated affair if you happen to be 11-year-old Jarrett of Newark, New Jersey. He is asthmatic and about to fail summer school. His mother takes in almost any foster child, including kids with special needs. The last straw is the arrival of two siblings, the developmentally challenged toddler, Treasure, and her tall, athletic 12-year-old brother, Kevon, who will be sharing Jarrett's room. Jarrett has had to share his mother's attention for as long as he can remember but never before had to give up his personal space. The friction between Jarrett and Kevon gains momentum when Kevon makes the basketball team and shows off for the girls, including Caprice, the girl Jarrett has a crush on. The protagonist is bound to get even at all costs. He spies on Kevon and his social worker, digging for any way to humiliate his foster brother without thought to the consequences. A pattern of mutual cruelties is set into motion which rapidly escalates on both sides. Plot and characters are realistic and engaging. References to farts, foot odor, and disgusting toenails abound. Gross-out humor aside, this is a solid story about dealing with problems that threaten to overwhelm and the importance putting one's own personal pain aside to understand the pain of another.—Kathy Cherniavsky, Ridgefield Library, CT --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
"Realistic and engaging . . . A solid story about dealing with problems that threaten to overwhelm and the importance putting one’s own personal pain aside to understand the pain of another." --School Library Journal
Praise for Coe Booth's Bronxwood:
"Readers who have been with Tyrell from the beginning as well as those meeting him for the first time will be utterly invested in his future." --Kirkus Reviews
"Tyrell tells his own story in language that never misses in its gritty authenticity." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A compelling tale of a teen still trying to make the right choices despite the painful consequences." --School Library Journal
"Booth paints a vivid picture of urban African American life." --VOYA
Praise for Coe Booth's Tyrell:
A 2007 LA Times Book Prize Winner for Young Adult Fiction
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
"A gritty and gripping first novel." --The New York Times Book Review
* "Heartbreakingly realistic. . . . Unlike many books reflecting the contemporary street scene, this one is more than just a pat situation with a glib resolution; it's filled with surprising twists and turns that continue to the end." --Booklist, starred review
"The definitive tale of the modern African American urban youth." --VOYA
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Top Customer Reviews
Thank you, NetGalley and Scholastic, for this free book to review!
For some reason, I really relate to characters who are religiously or culturally different than me and struggle in school (this also happened in Playing With Matches). I just do.
That really says something on Coe Booth's part. She managed to make an eleven year old boy relatable. Man. I've got a ton of respect for this author; she writes emotion so well.
I kept waiting for something drastic to happen, but it never came. There was excitement, yeah, but some unmet potential with Kevon's dad. Then again, this book is geared toward a younger audience, so maybe it was perfect.
Also, why was Qasim stopped by the police? Everyone said it was for no good reason, the police just did that because, being black, he looked suspicious. Writing about racial prejudice can be a good thing, but this didn't advance the plot.
Would I read other books by this author? Most likely. Maybe one for a slightly older audience though.
This book was actually pulled from the Battle of the Books reading list this year at the school I currently work at. The English teacher encouraged me to read it for this reason, and to consider the reasons it might have been pulled. It's hard to say exactly, because despite the things the book looks at (child abuse and neglect, racism and racial profiling, a critical assessment of the education system, mental illness and poverty) it's hardly particularly explicit in any of these subjects. They are addressed and discussed enough to drive the point home but it pulls back just enough to keep it "safe" for the young reader. Is it the criticism of the educational system that prompted the administration to pull it? Was the blatant address of racism in police policy too provocative for a conservative small town? Would the mentions of abuse and neglect hit too close to home in a town steeped in poverty?
I'm not entirely sure, but I do wish this book had been kept on the list. The issues it addresses are important and vital to discuss with kids. The way it addresses those issues is incredibly honest without making them inappropriate or unapproachable to a young audience. It handles all of these very heavy issues with surprising grace, so that the various threads of the narrative come together seamlessly rather than becoming too convoluted.
Overall, very highly recommended
Jarrett's mom is a foster mother for babies, but when a special case comes her way she can't turn down the babies older brother as well, after all it is only for a few days until they find another foster home, so Jarrett is told. Now Jarrett is stuck sharing his room, friends, and life with the older, cooler, smarter Kevon and it has been a lot more than a few days. Will they ever learn to get along or will Kevon's dad come to get him and his little sister Treasure first?
This really is a awesome book and if you get it through kindle you can pick up the audible.com version as well discounted and I must say the narrator John Clarence Stewart Does a outstanding job, well worth it, he was awesome!
The book was fun for both of us, and exposed my suburban white son to issues of foster care, academic struggle, inner city policing, single parenting, and other challenges that we are lucky not to face.
Great book for starting conversations about urban life in America.
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