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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Tamika, a hearing-impaired girl; Jimmi, a young veteran who stopped taking his antipsychotic medication; and Fatima, an illegal immigrant girl from Africa, meet and connect in their Bronx neighborhood, with devastating results.
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Paul Griffin is an award-winning author and a screen writer. He lives in New York City, where he works with youths in low-income schools and juvenile detention centers.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Much like Rita Williams-Garcia’s Jumped (2009), this story follows three kids through the pressure cooker of inner-city teenage life as it moves toward its crushing conclusion. Whereas that book mined the minor humiliations and overblown dramas that swirl during a single school day, this has a much more diffuse scope. The three characters couldn’t be any more different: Tamika Sykes is a partially deaf student agonizing over whether she really wants to hear all the noise surrounding her; Fatima Espérer is a 16-year-old refugee who fled the violence and poverty of her unspecified African country to live in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty; and depending on who you ask, Jimmy Sixes, already a disturbed veteran at age 18, is either a street poet or a junkie. The three form an unusual friendship, connecting both artistically and emotionally. All this is set in a city that has become a powder keg of anti-immigration sentiment (thanks to a recently passed law that rewards citizens for reporting illegals) and is perilously close to the ever-present spark of gang violence. Griffin clearly knows teens, especially the way they speak. In another writer’s hands, this story of three outcasts might have turned into a sentimental mess, but he keeps the depth of emotion honest as his characters battle alienation and find strength in sacrifice. Although readers will be prepared for an unnerving journey from the opening scene, they will nevertheless be floored by some of the turns in this swift, tense, and powerful book. Grades 10-12. --Ian Chipman
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