Teenie by Christopher Grant

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Summary: Freshman Martine “Teenie” is an honors student who just got her braces off and makes a debut outfit appearance which catches the eye of senior basketball star Greg. She’s a wreck and her recent fight with best friend Cherise doesn’t give her anywhere to go for advice.  Cherise is using an online romance for the extravagant presents he sends, and Teenie worries that this generous stranger is a pedophile.

Personal Reaction: Another urban drama… it’s an OK read that teens will go for, but I can’t say that I wasn’t hoping for more.  (Spoiler: he asks her for a “blessing” by their 2nd conversation, which she doesn’t know is a BJ, and then almost forces her into it AT SCHOOL twice.) My favorite part was the final confrontation with Beresforda’s ashes. The best parts for me were Teenie’s super strict parents and they way they looked out for her – I’d like to see a lot more of these parents around.

I just die a little every time a book adds another hopeless brick to the wall for my black readers. Being a nerd is not cool. Clothes, especially sneakers, get more mention than anything. Who’s doing it with whom and how often. Someone’s going to bring a knife to the fight. Basketball. UGH. I’m not saying that I think we should all close our eyes and pretend it’s not happening. But, if all the book choices lead you to think that its inevitable, that’s wrong.

Curriculum or discussion topics: I can’t see this as a class read, but maybe a counselor would suggest it to specific girls. Online safety, friendship, dating, conflict resolution

Connections to other books: Jason & Kyra by Davidson (he WILL wait if he loves you) for HS; all the Bluford High Series (multiple authors); Jumped by Williams-Garcia; Hip-Hop High School by Sitomer; A Smart Kid’s Guide to Avoiding Online Predators by Jakubiak or similar nonfiction; From Clueless to Class Act by Smith; maybe nonfiction about dating/relationships or even sexting

Items to display with book: Cell phone, credit card, clothing (especially a Wade NBA dress), basketball, biology or math textbook, ashes in an urn, map or tour book for Spain; computer with Instant Messaging windows opened or photo of IM chats)

Food items connected to story: hamburgers, ginger ale, shrimp, cookie ice cream

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