Read Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes Online

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The beloved and award-winning novel now available in a new format with a great new cover!When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class, some of his classmates clamor to read their poems aloud too. Soon they're having weekly poetry sessions and, one by one, the eighteen students are opening up and taking on the risky challenge of self-revelation. There'sThe beloved and award-winning novel now available in a new format with a great new cover!When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class, some of his classmates clamor to read their poems aloud too. Soon they're having weekly poetry sessions and, one by one, the eighteen students are opening up and taking on the risky challenge of self-revelation. There's Lupe Alvarin, desperate to have a baby so she will feel loved. Raynard Patterson, hiding a secret behind his silence. Porscha Johnson, needing an outlet for her anger after her mother OD's. Through the poetry they share and narratives in which they reveal their most intimate thoughts about themselves and one another, their words and lives show what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade....

Title : Bronx Masquerade
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780142501894
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 167 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bronx Masquerade Reviews

  • Brina
    2019-06-29 12:13

    Nikki Grimes is a poet and author who previously won the Coretta Scott King Award for her Jazmin's Notebook. In Bronx Masquerade, Grimes has created a tapestry of cultures taking place in a Harlem high school. As part of a Black History Month challenge, I have read this young adult novel about teenagers creating poetry as a a means of dealing with the challenges of everyday life. Mr Ward, a hip eleventh grade English teacher, has inspired his students to share their poetry as part of their unit on the Harlem Renaissance. Over the course of the novel, we meet eighteen students from all walks of life who have found a safe space in Mr Ward's classroom. Most are African American but there are a few Puerto Rican, Italian, Jewish, and Caucasian students. Many believe that they have few friends apart from their immediate family members. All aspire to attend college and move beyond the teenage angst their face on a daily basis. The poetry they write and share in Mr Ward's class has allowed all the students to reflect on their lives and realize just who they are, and what dreams and aspirations they have. The poetry Grimes has created for each student is raw and powerful. We meet Devon, a basketball player and honors student who desires to be known as more than a jock. Lupe at first wants to have a baby like her best friend Gloria and sister Christina but would like to be the first one in her family to go to college. Tanisha is the class beauty who designs her own clothes and strives to be recognized for more than her looks. Steve the lone Caucasian student would like a career in the theater and just wants to fit in during his school career. Finally, Wesley and Tyrone are the students who have the most to gain by the poetry slams and encourage both Mr Ward and their classmates to keep sharing their work. A deserving winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, Grimes' Bronx Masquerade is a poignant book that takes much effort to create eighteen distinct voices. While always searching for quality books for my children, Bronx Masquerade is such a book that shows teenagers in a positive light both in and out of the classroom. Portraying eighteen students who aspire to lofty goals, Nikki Grimes relates that everyone can attain their dreams if they work hard toward them. A beautiful collection of teenaged voices and poetry, Grimes' Bronx Masquerade is a solid 4 stars.

  • Carrie G
    2019-07-20 11:07

    If I were rating "Bronx Masquerade" from my students' perspectives, they would give it 4 or 5 stars; they LOVED this book! Me... not so much. First of all, there were too many characters from too many different backgrounds with too little character development. I couldn't keep everyone straight because almost every chapter introduced a new character, but the chapters were only 2-3 pages long on average. 2-3 pages is nowhere NEAR enough to really flesh out a character enough that I will remember him/her. And care about them... not hardly. When I've only "lived" with a character for a couple pages, how am I supposed to feel a connection, feel concern or joy or happiness. Also, the plot, or complete lack thereof, left me feeling "blah" about the book. Each character introduced himself or herself in each chapter, and we got a glimpse at what life was like for that character, then the story moved on to a different character with a completely different story, different life, and different set of problems. There was no real plot to speak of. Throughout the book there were some central themes (and these themes really resonated with my students): everyone is different and different is beautiful; everyone being different really makes us all the same; black, white, or brown we all have similar basic fears, hopes, wants, and needs; etc. But the fact that the author felt the need to have her "narrator," Tyrone, TELL us these things point blank made the theme feel forced to me. Let me have my own realizations; let me come up with my own "truths." TELLING me what you want me to take from your book makes me think you were afraid you weren't doing a good enough job of making it clear through the rest of the story, so you felt the need to say it outright; and that turns me off.So... did I like this book? No. Will I read it again? Only if I have to for another book club. Did my students like this book? Yes, yes, yes! Boys and girls alike responded very positively to this novel - to the poems and the characters. They identified with the characters in the book and the struggles they were having. And that's a big plus, in my eyes.

  • Ellie
    2019-07-03 12:12

    Nikki Grimes is one of my favorite writers and Bronx Masquerade is a delight. A group of teens in a Bronx (probably South Bronx from the sound of it) are studying the Harlem Renaissance in the English class when a student reads his own poem. Soon all the teens are writing and sharing poems about themselves, the struggles, their dreams. Each chapter is a page or two about one teen, followed by the poem they write. What they discover that as different as they may be--body shape, skin color, jock or beauty queen or self-proclaimed misfit--they have more in common than not. In their poems, they allow themselves to be honest and vulnerable, even the toughest of them. Their feelings of being an outsider, the importance of their dreams, are all very similar.Grimes creates a group of very different characters with identifiable voices. They may seem to be classic teen roles but Grimes manages to bring them all to life. I especially enjoyed the poems "they" wrote.A quick but lovely read, filled with the energy of the teens it celebrates.

  • Debbie
    2019-07-03 05:00

    I read some previous reviews and I think they're missing the point. Yes, there are a dozen characters (or more), and the story spans an entire school year. But there isn't really a big plot, per se, so there's not a lot of need for the reader to keep the characters straight. They reference each other enough that you can figure out, if you're really curious, but I think the poems and vignettes are more to illustrate how high school students have so much bubbling below the surface that others - classmates, teachers, family members - don't see. There is no big conflict in the novel, aside from perhaps the students seeing each other as individuals, but it's not so much developed along a typical plot line as just repeated with each new student voice. Tyrone's regular contributions to the book after each student's poem is an effective repetend, bringing us back to "home base" as he voices what the other students/characters probably were thinking after the highlighted poet performed his or her poem. As a purely visceral reading experience - my figuring-out brain turned off - this is a 4.5 stars. Grimes's wordsmithing and honest portrayal of the teenagers' concerns and insecurities is so spot-on it's scary. Some of these characters could be kids sitting in my classroom, they're so familiar. As an adult reader, I understand why others don't like it, and I'd give it 3 stars. So let's average to 4.

  • Elonna
    2019-07-19 09:16

    This book is about young kids that live in the Bronx who are all in the same english class, and even though they all come from very different backrounds they all come together through the poetry they share with eachother. Before the poetry days, these were kids who never even talked to eachother and were very distant from one another. The kids who would usually have bad grades were acing english class because they were enjoying sharing thier pain through poetry. Basically these kids created a bond through something that was a pure accident, and started a tradition through thier school.I really enjoyed this book, because I love poetry and how they would have a poem at the end of each chapter. Each poem helped me to understand each character a bit more, and to understand why they are the way they are. Also, the book shared what other characters thought about one another in the through out the book and and after hearing each poem every ones ideas about eachother changed. I really enjoyed this book, I wish it was longer so I could keep reading all of the beautiful poetry.

  • Brianna Marie
    2019-06-20 11:25

    Some of the poetry was good, but everything else was just terrible. The whole scenario seemed incredibly unlikely, and there characters didn't really have a lot of depth. And please, SHUT UP TYRONE. His comments annoyed me so much. They were written way too simple and he just restated the obvious. It didn't add anything, and just managed to get on my nerves.

  • Phil Jensen
    2019-07-20 06:14

    Here's the formula:1. A 2-5 page inner monologue by a character2. A 1-2 page poem by the character3. A one paragraph response by TyroneHere's how good it is:1. The inner monologues vary from cringey to pretty good. Grimes does noticeably better on female characters than on male characters, and better on people of color than on whites. For example, here's Tyrone:School ain't nothin' but a joke. My moms don't want to hear that, but if it weren't for Wesley and my other homeys, I wouldn't even be here, aiight? These white folk talking 'bout some future, telling me I need to be planning for some future-like I got one! (p. 7)If you don't think that's forced and inauthentic, then maybe Walter Dean Myers can help you spot the difference.Basketball is my thing. I can hoop. Case closed. I'm six four and I got the moves, the eye, and the heart. You can take my game to the bank and wait around for the interest. With me, it's not like playing a game, it's like the only time I'm being for real. (Slam! p. 1)2. The poems are easily the strongest part of the book. They communicate ideas clearly, use imagery concisely, and evoke emotions through first-person details.Bronx MasqueradeI woke up this morningexhausted from hidingthe me of meso I stand here confidingthere's more to Devonthan jump shot and rim.I'm more than talland lengthy of limb.I dare you to peepbehind these eyes,discover the poetin the tough-guy disguise.Don't call me Jump Shot.My name is Surprise.3. Tyrone's reflections are hilariously bad. Tyrone Bittings is a special character. He's a thug with a heart of gold. He learns to overcome thuggishness with sensitivity every 10 pages. Like clockwork. No matter how many life lessons he gets, he is continually surprised that his classmates have feelings. Does he forget easily? Why does he have to relearn every ten pages?In addition, Tyrone's responses add nothing whatsoever to the book. The reader has just seen an internal monologue and a poem from a character's perspective; no one needs Tyrone to explain it to them a third time. In fact, Tyrone's responses are invariably stupid, semi-caveman versions of what came before, so they feel patronizing. It's as if Nikki Grimes is worried that you missed her point the first two times. CRINGE!

  • Matthew
    2019-07-14 06:10

    "Bronx Masquerade" is a book about a group of teenages attending high school in the Bronx. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different student, concluding with a poem that the student wrote. These students in Mr. Ward's English class are about of an evoluationary process in classroom structure; after one students asks to read a poem in front of the class, more students express interest in reading their poems. Eventually, Mr. Ward hosts weekly open mics in his classroom. Hearing their peers express themselves, these students realize that they are not alone in their struggles, and learn about not only their peers but about themselves in the process.The concept of the book really resonated with me as a prospective teacher. The idea of having students share their own work on a regular basis, becoming so invested and engaged by the process and experience, and then compiling all of the poems written by the students into an anthology for the students to keep is a very inspiring idea. However, the book itself did not resonate with me. I had a different time remembering each characters' story, which made the reading process rather choppy and lacking fluidity. The characters and their stories also just seemed too forced, like the author was trying too hard to create this "troubled urban youth finding themselves through expressive and creative means" type of story. I just wasn't able to become invested in the characters, perhaps because none of them were fully developed, as their dialogues were short. Overall, I think the poetry idea in Mr. Ward's classroom was very inspiring and provoked thoughts for my own prospective classroom, but the book itself did not particularly move me.

  • Gina
    2019-07-17 08:26

    This book reminded me a lot of The Brimstone Journals, with the shifting narrative from kid to kid. It truly does take an incredibly talented author to have so many characters and still give them unique personalities that are memorable but not overblown, and connect them at that.However, I have to say I liked this one a bit better than Brimstone, partly because it wasn't entirely poetry, which I find easier to follow. Although poetry can give a different kind of understanding - and the excerpts of poems between almost every entry certainly did - prose can allow the author to go more in depth, and I really enjoyed that aspect.It was just really well done and I enjoyed it a lot.

  • Jenny Rae
    2019-06-28 11:05

    I loved everything about this book; the characters were all so funny yet so sincere and I loved hearing their stories. I wonder if at my school, if we did poetry writing like this, what the result would be. In the book it brought everyone together, which we need in this tiny town of Cartersville. I think the main purpose of this book is to realize that understanding is the most powerful force of them all. When we understand each other, we thrive. When we don't understand each other, we divide. And there's proof to justify that. Read for school.5/5 stars for being a book that everyone should read and take to heart. Also it had amazing poems and wonderful writing!

  • Duchessbookworm
    2019-06-21 09:27

    I loved this book. Poems are not really my thing. But this book is amazing.

  • Mangieto
    2019-07-12 08:01

    3.5, tirando a 4Creo que no me habría gustado leerlo, porque hay muchísimos personajes y estamos muy poco tiempo con cada uno de ellos. Pero escuché el audiolibro con la intensión de consumir ficción mientras me ocupaba de mis cosas mundanas, y wow. Viene realmente bien escuchar una serie de historias, narradas por diferentes personas (y así los reconoces por su voz), mientras haces una cosa u otra. No pasa nada por pausarlo mil veces, las historias son pequeñas y bastante obvias en su intensión. Y escuchar poesía es algo completamente nuevo para mí, quizá me haga fan.

  • Kate Olson
    2019-06-27 06:25

    I read this one in advance of Grimes' companion title BETWEEN THE LINES (Feb 2018) and am SO happy I did! It is a YA mix of accessible prose and fabulous verse that should be in every high school library if it isn't already. Themes of identity, family, race, and life in the Bronx are covered expertly.The new cover is a must-buy - all libraries and classrooms should replace their copies ASAP.

  • Karen Betancourt
    2019-06-29 12:23

    I chose 4 stars because it was a book with everyone's different perspectives. I liked how Tyrone said what he thought about the people's poems and how he thought only what he thought true. it could have been better if each person got more than one chapter like Wesley. Most of the characters changed throughout the story and they found who they really are on the inside, and Tyrone said that them doing the Open Mike's and the poems brought them together in a way. Some of the characters stopped being so shy like Janelle and she was proud of herself near the end of the book. I think that the characters felt they were like a family and they were all friends....Even Steve.

  • Jerrod Drye
    2019-06-24 05:11

    I enjoyed reading Bronx Masquerade it was cool because I learned about new poets at the beginning and I learned you can express yourself in words and not actions.

  • Banelly Alonzo
    2019-07-20 09:17

    I gave this book 3 stars because it is a really good book but i just think its a little confusing to read since its mainly about characters life.Someone else should read this because after the characters chapter it has a poem that they write and if you enjoy poetry i would recommend this to you They should put more chapters about the characters in this book to make it better because the characters only have about 1 chapter each.

  • Robyn
    2019-07-19 09:00

    First Line:I ain’t particular about doing homework, you understand, p.3 But a poetry slam? That’s a whole other thing. Bronx Masquerade opens the classroom door into the lives of 18 high school students. What started out as an essay assignment from Mr. Ward quickly turns into a weekly open mike session. Now the class of mostly black and hispanic kids are finding out there’s more to each other than all the superficial and stereotypical labels. Each chapter is from a different student’s perspective followed by their poem and then a brief commentary from Tyrone the main narrator. What Dazzled: This syncadudiobook 2017 had a full cast narrating the story. Great readers! This was pair with Teenage Diaries: Then and NowWhat Fizzled: I didn’t enjoy Tyrone’s comments after each student shared their poem. He wasn’t rude or anything, which was actually surprising since most teenagers I know would have been pretty snarky. Instead Tyrone was really positive and showed empathy towards the students, but he was doing all the work for the reader. The other ‘fizzle’ were the poems. Nikki Grimes is an amazing writer and her poems are amazing, but I’ve taught English and the vast majority of students are nowhere near that level of writing. So I had a hard time believing these students were really that articulate and eloquent. But that’s just me. Jots and Thoughts: A poem by me! If I Were to See Myself in High SchoolI bet I’d find myself in the high school cafeteriaeating doritos and drinking a Dr. Pepper over a paperbackbecause we weren’t allowed to have food or drinks in the library.If I found myself in class I’d be towards the back where the teacher wouldn’t see me trying to get your attentionto figure out what we should do Friday night.

  • Maria Nesmith
    2019-06-27 07:23

    I enjoyed reading the book Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. This book was about Mr. Ward's high school English classroom in the Bronx New York. Mr. Ward is teaching Harlem poetry when all of the students begin to want to share their poetry to the class. Mr. Ward then begins to hold “Open Mike” on Fridays for the students to share their poetry from that week. The book shows how the students relieve all their feelings and learn to become a family minus their backgrounds. The book showed no rhyming sounds. However the book had great imagery. When reading this book I could visualize exactly how the students felt and what they experienced. The book showed great insight on what the students were dealing with and the challenges they were facing. I felt like I was a part of the class when reading the story. The book was a positive stretch and taught children that if even if they have different backgrounds they can still learn to become friends. This book is appropriate for the occasion when teachers begin to have their students write poetry.This book gave me a great insight as to what students in the Bronx are dealing with. It shows how students can relieve a lot of stress and can tell their life stories through poems. I liked how the author told their life story and showed how they used their life experience in their poetry. One thing that struck me the most is what these students have to deal with outside of the classroom. This book relates to me because in the summer I tutor high school kids that are mostly African American and they face some of the same problems as the students in the book. I would use this book in the classroom when I want to have students write poems about their life experiences. It can teach them how to open out through writing.

  • Adriana
    2019-07-09 05:21

    BRONX MASQUERADE BY NIKKI GRIMES IS AN AMAZING BOOK. IT IS INSPIRING AND IT SHOWS GREAT INSIGHT INTO THE LIVES OF URBAN TEENS. EACH TEEN HAS THEIR OWN LIFE STORY, DIFFERENT FROM THE NEXT. THE BOOK IS FULL OF POETRY AND SHOWS THE EVERY DAY STRUGGLES PRESENT WITHIN TEENS LIVES. POETRY FROM TEEN MOTHERS TO ASPIRING ARTISTS AND STARS. EACH TEEN HAS A DIFFERENT DREAM AND GOAL IN LIFE AND EACH TEEN IS FULLY CAPABLE OF REACHING FOR THE STARS. THE TEENS LIVE IN AN URBAN AREA WHERE THEY ARE NOT TAKEN VERY SERIOUS, BUT ONCE THEY ARE GIVEN THE AMMUNTION BY MR, WARD, THE BECOME FREE TO DECIDE WHO THEY WANT TO BE AND ARE ABLE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES OPENLY WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. THE STORY TAKES PLACE IN NYC IN A PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL. THE OPEN MIC CLASSES TAKE PLACE IN MR. WARDS ENGLISH CLASS EVERY FRIDAY. THE STUDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED BY HIM TO SHARE THEIR STORIES. EACH STUDENT IN HIS CLASS FACE THEIR OWN PERILS. THERE ARE MULTIPE CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY . EACH OF THE STUDENTS ARE CHARASMATIC AND TALENTED IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS FROM WRITERS TO PAINTERS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. EACH OF HIS STUDENTS HAVE A DREAM. THIS BOOK IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE NO MATTER WHAT AGE OR SEX YOU ARE. THE BOOK COVERS LIFE STORIES THAT EVERYONE CAN RELATE TO. THEIR ARE STORIES FROM THE PLAYER, THE BEAUTY QUEEN, THE ARTIST , THE TEEN MOTHER AND MANY MORE. EACH PERSOONALITY IS EXTREMELY UNIQUE BUT RELATABLE. THE BOOK IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE BECUASE THE CHARACTERS ARE PEOPPLE THAT WE COULD ALL IDENTIFY WITH AT SOME POINT OR ANOTHER. I WOULD RECCOMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE I KNOW, EVEN POEPLE THAT DISLIKE POETRY WOULD BE ABLE TO APPRECIATE BECAUSE OF THE MANNER IT IS WRITTEN IN

  • Anna
    2019-07-05 10:09

    This book is *awesome*!!! I was not expecting it to be anywhere near as good as it was. It's a story about a group of kids in a high school English class in the Bronx who start reading poetry to each other. The writing is a mix of the individual teens' stories (where you get to know them and the problems they are facing) as well as their poems, which are always somehow related to their identity struggles. One boy named Tyrone usually comments on the poems and that helps to create a flow in the writing that might not have been there it was just a series of somewhat unrelated stories and poems. Tyrone sort of serves as a narrator who links the characters together.The writing style is amazing. The characters are so well developed even though there are so many of them. I love that Nikki Grimes really got down and dirty with identity issues and talked about everything -- race, color, ethnicity, size, family structure, relationships, I mean everything -- that might make teens insecure and uncertain about who they are. I love her overall positive message that tells teens not to give up even though they face a lot of obstacles. Beautiful, engaging, and definitely something I'd recommend to young adults.

  • orton41290
    2019-07-13 11:07

    Bronx Masquerade sets out to teach kids that "poetry can be cool" and doesn't take the time to focus on anything else, like plot or character development or keeping the reader entertained. Grimes gives you a barrage of ridiculously underdeveloped characters dog-eared by one minor character flaw or minimalist back story. They all seem like outlines, or casings of characters that she meant to go back and fill in later. Even worse is Tyrone, our hype-man who follows each of the increasingly worse poems with a half-page statement saying "Wow! I didn't know that __________ had that problem in his/her life. Now I see him/her totally different," his entire personality and word-choice changing based on who's poem he just heard. Grimes gave us a half-assed accumulation of terrible poetry from one-dimensional characters who are easily interchangeable sue to their bland personalities and absence of character development. This was easily the worst book I've ever read. In no way is this hyperbole, this book was awful. If you are looking for a book to show students that poetry can be cool, look at one of the hundred other books that does it in a compelling way.

  • Bill Parsons
    2019-07-03 08:15

    I thought this book was uninteresting. The poems were good, but I still think the story is still uninteresting. I also feel that I did not have much conection with the characters.I think the main problem for me is the structure of the book. It's like a cycle that gets uninteresting fast. First it describe little bit about the character, gives the problem, The person writes a poem about the problem, then a Tyrone chapter thats most likly less then a full page, and repeat. Tyrone does have a few poems in the book and there are characters that have more than one chapter (other than Tyrone), but it stays in the same cycle. The Epilogue is the thing that break the cycle (I'm glad it was not a person named epilogue).I was not too interested in the charters in this book. Even the problems were not that interesting to me.I would give this a one star. I would only Recommend this book to people who love poetry.

  • Brandon
    2019-07-17 04:28

    This book is mostly about poetry. It has very good verses and is not a very long book. This is what I'm reading right now and I really like it. It's kind of a slow moving book but oh well.i like the characters and how they they express themselves. The poetry slang in the book is detailed and really inspirational on some parts. It talks about being ur self and other moral values.

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2019-06-26 06:59

    Outstanding! The author masterfully reveals how the students come to understand each other through listening to each other's poetry. Highly recommended!

  • aventmyi02
    2019-07-14 11:11

    As a class we finished reading the novel “Bronx Masquerade” by Nikki Grimes. Bronx Masquerade was about a group of students who all had Mr. Ward for english. This group was a blend of all different races and backgrounds. Mr. Ward started to get them to write poems, every friday they had open mike. Open mike was a place where they could share one of their pieces. In the beginning everyone was afraid to share their pieces, towards the end of the book Mr. ward had people lined up to share their pieces. Each piece was about something that was important to them. These open mics helped students express themselves in a way they though they never could or would. (something I liked) In Bronx every character was more similar than they were different. Every character had a story that made them act they way they acted. They all came from different struggles and different lifestyles. Although they were different they all had the same insecurity of feeling the need to hide behind a mask. A mask that lets them put on a front and be someone they really want to be, but on the inside they are a completely different person. In the novel the character Porsche Johnson had a mask on of being this scary, mean girl. Everyone was afraid of Porsche because she wasn't the easiest girl to approach. One person that wasn't afraid to approach her was Leslie Lucas, she had to move because her mother died. Leslie one day bumped into porsche and porsche pushed her and said………. . Once Porsche took her mask off you could see the real truth about her and you could see how vulnerable she really was. Porsche and Leslie came from totally different lives but realized they shared the death of their mothers. Bronx Masquerade showed that a lot of the times teens are going through the same problem and struggle, hiding behind a mask will make you go through your problems alone. Making them a lot more similar in they were different.(structure) In Bronx Masquerade the structure was very characterized. Every character had their own personality and identity. I noticed that the theme was very deep and had a lot of meaning. The theme had to do with putting on a mask and hiding your true self. The theme also had to do with finding your true identity and holding back showing the world the real you. Bronx Masquerade showed teens around the world that everyone goes through struggles and tough times. And that all teams put on some type of mask that keeps them from expressing the real them. One of the last things I liked about the structure of this book was the POV. I loved how the point of view didn't just stay with tyrone and I like how it wasn't in 3rd person point. The point of view moved as the novel went from character to character.

  • Leslie Fitzpatrick
    2019-06-27 10:28

    I can't believe I'm just now doing a review of this book! I probably read it for the first time like ten years ago for battle of the books. I've been re-reading it for the last few years too because it's been our 7th grade book. I think what I like so much about this book is that it's unique with all the different chapters being from different character's point of view. There's not really a PLOT in this book, since it's jumping around from character to character, but that doesn't make it less exciting and it doesn't make it less of a page-turner. You're always waiting to see who else you'll meet. Some of the characters do have two or three chapters, so that's exciting to see how they've changed since their prior chapter. I also really like the message of this book. I think that all young people should read this book to encourage empathy and understanding. You never know what someone's going through unless you can try to see things from their perspective. Don't be so quick to judge others, and don't be so hard on yourself. Everyone always loves Tyrone because he is like the linking character throughout, but I think my favorite character is Lupe because she starts off as such a sad, depressed, typical teenage girl. She's very innocent and thinks that the only way she can find love is by having a baby, she thinks it will solve all of her problems. I was so mad at her after her first chapter and I just thought she was such an idiot, but then she comes to learn that she doesn't need to find love from someone else, she just needs to love herself and give herself the best life possible. She makes a lot of friends along the way and she decides they can all be "alone together" and I just love that. I also really like Sterling, I think because I can relate to him: we both have some anger issues, and people who pick on us but we use our faith to stay strong and not knock their heads in. I don't think anything could make this book better, but it's about 15 years old, so I would love a sequel (like the epilogue hints at) where the students are dealing with more modern problems, like cyber bullying because this book doesn't have the technology that we have today and that changes the way teens interact and their everyday life so much.

  • Max Ostrovsky
    2019-07-08 04:27

    I loved the mix of narrative and poetry. And hey, loved the story, too. To better engage inner city, mostly disinterested students, a teacher incorporates an open mike concept to showcase student poetry. In the process, not only do students with vastly different backgrounds and students who fit beyond stereotype and archetype come together and the class becomes more familial, the students find self-respect and self-worth. They learn how to better express themselves. So instead of a Mean Girl division of culture, class, group separation, these students learn how to come together and make something better by coming together. They become aware of the power they have gained to change their circumstances and how to expand the teacher's idea of an open mike to something more inclusive and reachable for more people. It was beautiful and each character has their own unique, stereotype breaking, background and expression, and each gets to share that expression through poetry, allowing the reader insight not as easily gained through just traditional narrative.

  • Mikayla Davis
    2019-06-29 11:16

    *SPOILERS*I gave it that many stars because it was a really good book and its like after everyone read their poem they finally were themselves and I loved how Leslie and Porscha could relate with each other and how everyone thought Raynard was dumb until he read his poem and Tyrone changed a lot at first he was racist and didnt like doing homework and in the end he completely changed and it was amazing. I think everyone should read this book because if theyre scared to be themselves or scared that someone would judge them or some is judging someone they could read this book and realize that none of what theyre doing is good and some people could change. I honestly dont think this book could be any better its fine how it is.

  • Karol Cervantes
    2019-07-08 10:11

    i picked that many stars because this book really keeps you going with Tyrone changing mind of what he thinks of some people that did open mike also lots of characters start with perspective then with a different perspective like Lupe at first she thought having baby of her own the kid make everything better then reaching the end she changes her mind and finds out the baby wasn't her solution.i would recommend this to someone who really loves poems and thinks of writing when grows up because its giving some tips like to write what you feel and to be proud for what you write and speak out you feelings what would make it better was if Shankara's sister stood up for her self to the guy who hit her to show he's not afraid to stand up for herself.

  • Elizabeth Johnson
    2019-06-26 08:27

    I pick these many stars because it was a crazy and sad story to read. It was very good because you got to read about how these kids open up and readied their poem to the whole class. I think that some one should read this because it is a good book. If people like different feelings through a book they will like it. But it shows how people care about others. The book is about how friendship came together. What will make it better is that they could do this at a younger age. Like it could be it middle school but they did in high school. But the kids in this story need to know that they belong. I loved this book. I say some one should read this.