A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book deals with issues of class, street life, love, and runaway teens. There are also discussions of selling drugs, imprisonment, and the child welfare system.
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What's the story?
Damien has it all: an acceptance letter from Brown University, a loving family, and a mom-approved girlfriend. On the flip side, Junice is losing everything: her mother goes to jail for drug possession and she's left caring for her little sister and her grandmother who's slipping into dementia. She's struggling under the weight of it all while trying to keep her sister and herself out of the foster care system. When Damien and Junice meet, their love is unlikely and more powerful than either could have imagined.
Is it any good?
Award winning author Walter Dean Myers brings hip-hop, love, and poetry together for a Romeo and Juliet-like story of teen love. Myers' poetry is rhythmic, authentic, and clever. Damien is supposed to go to Brown University and date the girl his mother likes. Junice is supposed to end up like all the women in her family -- with a long rap sheet and a life spent tangled in the system. Neither teen is sure where they are going in life, but both know there has to be more than what is expected of them.
The cadence of Myers' poetry is grounded in hip-hop beats. The rhythmic, driving prose captures the desperation, hurt, anger, hope, love, and innocence of all the characters. In the novel adults and teens struggle with their evolving roles. Mothers want their kids to live the lives they have planned for them. Teens want to assert more control over their futures. All are desperate to be understood. STREET LOVE, with its urban setting, hip-hop roots, and popular theme is an attractive reading choice. Parents may not like the main characters' choices in the end, but it does provide a great opportunity for discussion.