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Sister Mischief Hardcover – July 12, 2011
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The novel is notable for the uncommon credit for critical thought it gives its characters, and their ruminations on hip-hop history, sexism, and social alliances are inspiringï¿½ A nontraditional approach to an uncommon subject, SISTER MISCHIEF sets the lesbian coming-of-age narrative within a markedly positive hip-hop culture of the characters' own creation.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Overall this debut is full of big ideas, big heart, and big poetry, with a positive, activist
—Booklist (starred review)
Welcome to the Queer Hip-Hop Revolution, young-adult-style. Transgressive Y.A. novels are all the rage-all the cool kids are reading them. Thus, continuing my desperate, life-long mission to sit at the popular table, I am too. Being a huge supporter of grrrl rockers, I fell hard for Laura Goode's SISTER MISCHIEF.
An irreverent, in-your-face book that deals with sexuality and cultural bias with a big dose of humor interspersed....When the girls defy the school administration to form a gay/straight alliance, they learn what protest is all about. School pranks, gossip, college selection, first love, and bullying are interwoven into this unique novel.
—Library Media Connection
The girls have an encyclopedic knowledge and deep love of hip-hop, and Esme's emotionally charged rhymes flow freely. If ever a book needed a soundtrack--or a beatbox--this is it.
Snappy dialogue, likable characters and an original concept.
An odd yet appealing combination of programmatic and subversive, this eminently discussable debut novel captures the vibrancy and messiness of teen life.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Snappy banter that can be pretty darn funny. In the end, Esme's story demonstrates to her friends, to the reader and, most importantly, to herself that despite her tough-girl persona, she can love-and live-passionately, openly and well.
Esme's story demonstrates to her friends, to the reader and, most importantly, to herself that despite her tough-girl persona, she can love-and live-passionately, openly and well.
—Reading Corner (BookPage e-newsletter)
It's not that life is harder when you're a teenager, but the hard stuff is new and peculiar to you, and your options for for dealing with it are limited. It's true that it gets better, but there's also a certain kind of magic that can only happen when things aren't so great. Sister Mischief can teach you how to cast some of those spells.
—The Figment Review
About the Author
Laura Goode was raised in Minneapolis and received her BA and MFA in English and writing from Columbia University. She has written and directed two full-length plays, and her poetry has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, Cannibal, and Narwhal. She lives in San Francisco.
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I liked that the author acknowledged the potential for cultural appropriation with suburban, mostly white or white-passing teens expressing themselves through hip-hop, although I felt that she didn't engage with it as much as she should have. This is especially important given how often Black art is taken and recycled by white artists, without credit or attribution, and these white artists go on to far more success and fame than most Black artists can dream of.
I liked the organic, exploratory feel of the relationship between Esme and Rowie. I wasn't so keen on Esme trying out het sex in the opening pages - do het people need to try out gay sex to figure out that they're not into it? Let's just leave that trope behind in general, but especially so if we're going to be marketing this to queer teens.
Then I got to the last 20% or so.
Tip: don't describe something as a love story when it ends with the people in the romance splitting up. Don't tell us it's a queer love story when it ends with one of the characters bolting the closet door shut and running off to be in a het relationship we _know_ she won't be happy with. And, most of all, don't leave us that note to instead have it end with a horrible, hokey, cheesy The Kids Show The Principle Up By Taking Over His Big Speech With a Musical Performance straight out of a cliché, awkward 90s teen comedy.
I deeply regret buying this and getting so invested in the love story only to have it ending so awfully. The message queer teen girls need isn't "you should stay in the closet and be unhappy"; they need validation and a model for how to live honestly.
Laura Goode does a fabulous job of crafting a group of unique characters, each with a lot of depth and very different backgrounds. Their personalities come to life and the issues they face feel very real. By the end, you find yourself rooting for them!
I think this book would make a great book club read as I've had some great conversations with friends on the topics and themes in this book.
So in summation, this book encourages YA hookups with no emotional attachment and encourages you to stay in the closet no matter what. Mhm. Doesn't work for me.