Wednesday, May 18, 2011

YA Review: Hot Girl by Dream Jordan

Hot GirlHot Girl by Dream Jordan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the first ten pages I knew I would love this book.
Kate is not your average girl from Bed-Stuy. Well, maybe she is, but her past may be decorated a bit more colorfully than most. She is starting on her 14th summer all alone, with a new foster family, a burning crush on her homeboy Charles, and without the guidance of her best friend Felicia who is spending her summer in Africa. Kate is all set to hold things down solo and slowly press up on Charles when in steps Naleejah, a fly girl from around the way who is all about the fast cars, fast boys, and fast life.

Naleejah takes one look at Kate's "bummy" appearance and painfully obvious crush, and then latches herself on as Kate's new best friend. Eventhough Naleejah laces her with a fresh hairdo and eye-catching new clothes, Kate's street smarts tell her that this new "friend" isn't all she says she is and that her "all that" life isn't all that its cracked up to be either. First of all, Naleejah is far too friendly with the boys, jumping into cars with men she's just met, and proclaiming that men are who get her all her fly gear. Then there's the all-talk part of her that Kate can see right through. Finally, the way she presses up on Charles, rubs Kate the wrong way. Pretty soon, Kate has to decide whether being a good new friend has its limits.

There were tons of things to like about this book. Kate was not only a believable character, but a complicated one. She gives an honest depition of her self, her crush, her feelings about foster care, and even her past life of drugs, alcohol and gangs. Her desire to stay grounded in her new foster family, and the flashbacks to her former homes were seamless.
I think readers will appreciate that she wasn't preachy about Naleejah, or others in the neighborhood, just beyond them. She'd been there, done that, wasn't afraid to go back, but also not interested in it. Being her own person was something that Kate was exceptionally good at.
The characters in this book were built beautifully and each of them had depth that made them more than a one-sided cliche. Kate was such a real girl from "around the way" that I hated to see the book end. Real characters, relateable situations and yet not a single curse word!
Beautifully and skillfully done, Ms. Jordan.


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