Allison Van Diepen
I’ve never been to a school where you have to go through a metal detector before you can get to class. Where my fellow students murder each other. Because gangs dominate our world.
Julia DiVino does. She’s just trying to get through at her Brooklyn high school where gang lines are clearly marked, where gangs are everywhere. She’s not a member, though her friends Marie and Black Chuck do belong to gangs. Julia has a future and she is NOT going to let the gangsta life derail it.
Julia’s life is going along fine, until Eric Valiente enters it. He’s new in school, and all the girls are drooling over him. But, for some reason, he’s interested in Julia. And he’s not the gang type, right?
Nothing is as it seems, and nothing will stay the same. Julia has hard choices to make, and then she’s got to deal with the consequences, whatever those may be.
(Booktalk adapted from a book review by Teen Reader Jocelyn)
Allison Van Diepen
Julia DeVino goes to high school in Brooklyn. Everyone belongs to a gang. Julia and her friends have decided from 7th grade that they want nothing to do with them. They have watched the violence, even among girls, that is brought home to them in a frightening way. Then Julia falls in love with Eric, who at first seems very simpatico, but also joins the Crips. If Julia wants to continue being his girlfriend, she must also. To her friends’ horror, Julia talks about the safety of being a part of a gang, the friendship, the “loyalty”; and while her friends watch, she is badly beaten, and begins lying. This novel never sugar coats, never preaches. It does give us a hard look at the drugs, sex, and violence of gang life.
[Booktalker’s note: This is a short talk. We talk about this book with no gimmicks, no funny lines because it is a pretty mature book with mature themes]
(Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, Einstein Middle School)
Last Updated: April 13, 2009