Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Enough hating

I think the reason How Ya Like Me Now, by Brendan Halpin, sat on the floor of my bedroom for 2 months was because it had a video game console on the front. At least I think that's a game console. Is that what you call that? You can see the problem.

But I'm so glad I finally ran out of books with angry female warriors on the cover, because How Ya Like Me Now was exactly what I needed: a smart book about a white suburban boy getting transplanted to a city, where he attends a business-like charter school with his cousin and avoids phone calls from his oxycotin-addicted Mom.

What's awesome about this book is the way it complicates the urban/suburban dichotomy (hey, remember this?). For example, Eddie is from the suburbs, but he's the one with a drug addict in the family. Alex lives in the city, but his school has better test scores. Plus, there's dialogue like this:
"Yo, Alex, man, we figured your cousin would be white, but Left Eye is literally white! Can't see his face next to a wall!"
"Kid could be completely invisible in a snow storm!" Savona added.
"Homeboy makes Michael Jackson look black!" Kelvin added (30).
I like how Eddie copes with the culture of an urban school, where, as a white person, he's in the minority. Like, instead of trying to crack on people, he affects a super proper way of talking: "I will now discontinue my fronting. I sincerely hope to hit that... as you may or may not be aware, I am the mack" (139).

But this book isn't, like, about race. It's more about the two cousins trying to get girls, finish their marketing project, beat each other at Madden, and keep their parents out of their business--especially Eddie's mom who's getting out of rehab and threatening to "be a family again." Ack! Now here's a book I could hand to any kid without embarassment. Finally!

No comments: