The Orange Houses

3.47 avg rating
( 841 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780803733466: The Orange Houses

Meet Tamika Sykes?Mik to her friends (if she had any). She?s hearing impaired and way too smart for her West Bronx high school. She copes by reading lips and selling homework answers, and looks forward to the time each day when she can be alone in her room drawing. She?s a tough girl who never gets close to anyone, until she meets Fatima, a teenage refugee who sells newspapers on Mik?s block. Both Mik and Fatima unite in their efforts to befriend Jimmi, a homeless vet who is shunned by the rest of the community.

The events that follow when these three outcasts converge will break open their close-knit community and change the lives of those living in the Orange Houses in explosive and unexpected ways.

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About the Author:

Paul Griffin lives with his wife and dogs in New York City, just across the river from Mik's neighborhood.

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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Paul Griffin
Published by Dial Books (2009)
ISBN 10: 0803733461 ISBN 13: 9780803733466
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Published by Dial Books (2009)
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