Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You Don't Even Know Me

The JRHCHBBAPDFH book recommendation for the day is You Don't Even Know Me, a collection of short stories and poems by Sharon G. Flake.

The author writes:
They fall in love, plot revenge, seek to be understood. They sit in class, show their colors, date your daughter and dream of making it big. But do you know them, these brazen, brilliant, bold young men walking among us? In my new novel, young men celebrate love, mentor younger boys, wrestle with AIDS and contemplate suicide. They dodge adults who mean them harm, brag about becoming president and wonder if they'll be alive in the morning. Boys: Do we know 'em?

Confession: I haven't read You Don't Even Know Me. It is, in fact, just coming out today (happy birthday, book). You can read reviews from people who have read it here and here.

That said, I just finished The Skin I'm In, also by Ms. Flake, and it's the kind of book that makes you want more soon. Maleeka gets made fun of for being so tall and skinny and dark. She befriends the mean bully Char, hoping it will help. It doesn't; Char is worse to her than anyone. Okay, here you are thinking I am going to say, "...blah blah blah Maleeka learns to love the skin she's in." And it's true, Maleeka does learn that, but the way it comes about is not predictable or clich├ęd or easy. I love it when an author can get me all tense and jumpy thinking, "No! Don't do that!" while still pulling 100% for a character. And I love that in the end, Maleeka still looks like herself (i.e. there's no fairy tale makeover).

I also just picked up The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street. Tink's review coming soon.

Sharon G. Flake's interview at The Brown Bookshelf here.
Evanston Library's list of other books you might like if you like these here (love the "readalikes" idea).

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