Posted on 13 December 2010 Monday

Male Monday is a Reading in Color meme where today, Ari is reviewing First Part Last

In the spirit of winter festivities I have a MaleMonday giveaway! Now, if this giveaway is true to form I’ll be giving these books to the first person to ask for them. If by some strange twist in the universe I happen to get more than 5 participants, I’ll actually have a drawing.  This giveaway ends Saturday 18 December at midnight.

The winner will receive both books!

Tough Boy Sonata by Curtis Crisler

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up—In this collection of 38 poems, an unflinching narrative offers a view of the boys who run within the confines of the industrial town of Gary, IN. Their lives, unknown to the “groggy commuters” who flash by on the train, are harsh and difficult, bold and passionate. There’s LaRoy, who sings, “i am not a failing flashlight. i am an inspired/inspiration….they know I have/hope, and hope kills…”; the classroom daydreamer who feels that the lopsided view of history he is being taught is whitewashing away his chances to be a contender; and Millicent, the tomboy who crushes with her snarl and good right cross. A grandson is hurting under the lost smile of an addicted grandmother, tough boys get nods of approval from the grown-ups when they learn the art of chops, of jive “…they’d smile to let us know when we had it/down like aristotle and shakespeare/and anansi. And if we could tough it/out we would be something more than/dead carcasses on delaney avenues;/we could become hopeful parents,/first-generation homeowners,/someone’s recovered faith,/one project under a groove.” These poems are muscular and vivid, fierce with the sound and force of language. Cooper’s dreamlike, muted illustrations are a fine counterpoint to the rugged terrain of these young people’s experiences.—Susan Moorhead, New Rochelle Public Library, NY (From SLJ via Amazon)

Starred Review* Jayson Porter’s life is miserable. His relationship with his alcoholic mother wavers between abuse and neglect, his father is a downwardly spiraling crack addict, and he literally has to dodge bullets in the projects just to stay alive long enough to escape in the only way he sees possible. He daydreams about throwing himself off his building, and when he finally does, he has a split-second realization on the way to oblivion that no matter how grim, life is too precious to abandon hope. Miraculously, he is given a second chance at life. Adoff, whose verse-novel Jimi & Me won a 2006 Coretta Scott King Award, captures the inner-city voice of drug-strangled poverty from Jayson’s point of view, in stark prose that crumbles into haunting blank verse, effectively using both white and black space to convey Jayson’s anguished mentality as he crawls ever closer to the edge. This forceful story will appeal to the many readers, some in despair, who will find Jayson a character they can cling to. It’s a hard book to read, and even harder to put down. Grades 10-12. –Ian Chipman (from Booklist via Amazon)



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