Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Hot Girl by Dream Jordan
Another book by a new author, this one who received a degree in creative writing from New York University. The book is set in Brooklyn, New York, and is told in the first person by its 14-year-old heroine, Kate. She has been in foster placement all her life. Only in the past year has Kate started getting her act together. Two people have made the difference in her life - a straight-talking social worker who cares about her and isn’t afraid to show it, and her best friend Felicia, who cares about getting somewhere, and is not into following the crowd.
The only trouble now is that it’s summer, and Felicia is gone – gone on a special events teen tour of Africa, one that Kate could have joined if she wasn’t so hot-tempered. Being insulted by some of the other girls about her violent past (she had been in a gang) and her bargain basement clothes, Kate decided she wouldn’t go.
Lo and behold, a new girl turns up, and wants to be friends with Kate. She’s a sharp looker and dresser, and even wants to help Kate jazz up her image. But Naleejah has some other things about her that are not so positive for Kate, like jumping into guy’s cars and into their beds.
Jordan has created very lively and real characters…the “beautiful” boy Kate is crazy over has some problems from his own home environment, and Naleejah is believable in her neediness, even as she shows off with her aggressive ideas.
Kate’s foster home environment has some special issues too, and Jordan is good at capturing that frustration between teens and their care-givers. Both sides can act pretty pitiful, but if they give each other a chance they can connect. The book has been criticized for Kate’s determination to stay out of trouble with boys, as her background would not predict that. But young girls do need role models like this, and need to hear statements like Kate’s.
I look forward to reading more of Dream Jordan. You can catch her website at http://dreamjordanbooks.com/