By Lesley Choyce
Dylan is having dreams and memories of a life that is not his own. The cause is something he does not want to face. As reality sweeps in, his new best friend has problems of her own to deal with and Dylan has to make some tough decisions on his own and learn to put his own problems on the backburner to support his friend. Deconstructing Dylan
is set in the near future, there is an invasion of person by advanced technology and Dylan’s girlfriend has a lesbian friend who is shunned by society and dies of a drug overdose far from home. Some of the issues dealt with are: anger with parents for withholding information, guilt for not helping a friend in need and coming out with a secret in a society that does not support the situation.
The book is well written, although it does have some irritating moments of repetition. The drug and alcohol abuse of the mother is never resolved. The problem is understated in the book and it is obvious that Dylan understands that it is not healthy, which makes it a low priority issue in the story. The imagery is beautifully done in the areas where Dylan is having memories or dreams. It definitely reads like a woman wrote it, though, even though the voice is Dylan’s, a 16-year-old boy. I think this book would speak more to younger teen girls than boys, perhaps ages 9-14.The Coldest Winter Ever
By Sister Souljah
Winter is a Brooklyn girl at heart. Her daddy is the biggest drug lord in the area, and he treats his girls like queens. At least he does until he is picked up and thrown in jail for just about every charge in the book. Winter is forced to fend for herself in a hostile environment and make money the only way she knows how: hustling goods. She goes from the house of her sugar daddy, to her jealous aunt’s where she is betrayed by a neighbor to Child Services. After a brief stay in a teen shelter, Winter finally meets her nemesis, Sister Souljah and that is where the real trouble begins.
This book is very graphic. Sex scenes are told in detail. It paints an ugly picture of the Brooklyn streets and the mentality of the drug dealer. The term, victimless crime is never actually used, but it is easy to see that that is how the dealers see their job. Sister Souljah does a great job of integrating herself into the book and only coming off sounding slightly pretentious.
Due to the graphic nature of this novel, I would recommend it to older readers (16-20). I wasn’t sure I liked the story at first, but it definitely grows on you. As a middle class white girl from the northwest, I feel that I have gotten to see a side of our country that I have never experienced in reading this book. It is well written, despite the slang and the main character is amazingly well developed through her inner dialog.
Labels: Book Reviews