Friday, October 8, 2010

Keesha's House by Helen Frost

What if there is a safe place for every teen to go to when home is no longer safe? Helen Frost's brief free-verse novel imagines such a place in the voices of seven alternating teenage narrators. After Keesha's mother passed away, her alcoholic father became physically abusive; Stephie is afraid to tell her family she is pregnant; Stephie's boyfriend, Jason, is worried how the pregnancy will effect his future playing college basketball; Katie's stepfather has been making unwanted visits to her bedroom at night; Dontay struggles dealing with incarcerated parents and foster parents that he feels treat him like a second-class citizen; Carmen finds herself incarcerated again after a DUI; and Harris' father rejects him because he is gay. While not every teen ends up staying at the titular house, actually owned by a man named Joe, the home is the tie that binds these intersecting story lines. This book will be a hit with fans of Ellen Hopkins' free-verse poetry novels Crank, Glass, Burned, and Impulse. Its brevity, diversity of narrators and accessibility make it an excellent introduction to the genre as well.

Frost, Helen. Keesha's House. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.

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