Monday, January 19, 2009

Street Love: A Review

Street Love is an emotion-packed YA novel. One of the main characters, Damien seems to have it made. He makes good grades, has avoided the lure of joining a gang, and has been accepted to Brown University. His parents have high hopes for his future.

Junice isn't so lucky. Her mother has just been sent to prision for drug possession, and her father has been out of the picture for a long time. Junice is worried that she and her little sister, Melissa, will be separated by the system. She is determined to break free from the world of her mother and grandmother.

Damien finds Junice irresistible. She is unlike anyone he has ever known. Junice is much more guarded with her heart, but eventually allows herself to fall in love. Their love must overcome seemingly impossible obstacles, and each one of them will have to make sacrifices if they are to have a life together.

The story is left open-ended. Will their love survive, or will Damien and Junice have a change of heart?

Steet Love has a very Shakespearean feel about it. In an essay about the novel, Myers said he originally wrote the entire novel in iambic pentameter and later added some rap elements to emulate adolescent street language. One thing I especially liked was the way each character's distintive voice came through. Damien's intelligence is shown in his use of Latin phrases; his friend Kevin speaks in more of a rap. Junice's voice is tough and street-wise.

My favorite verse is spoken by Ruby, Junice's grandmother who floats in and out of reality. Life hasn't been easy for Ruby. Hers' is the voice of the blues. Here's an excerpt

Ruby Ambers

Yeah, it's hard. baby
It's hard right down to the bone,
I said, Oh, it's hard baby
It's right down to the very bone
It's hard when you're a woman
and you find yourself all alone
I've been flapping and scrapping
And running from door to door
You know I've been flapping and scrapping, honey
Running from door to door
I ain't what I used to be, ain't really Miss Ruby
anymore


I recommend Street Love for high school and up.

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