A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
While the main characters have mostly good qualities and demonstrate care and compassion, there are instances where their judgment is lax.
Violence & Scariness
A fight breaks out between two teens, one teen cuts another with a shank, or object sharpened into a weapon.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Quite a bit of sexual innuendo. A girl discusses that she's not a virgin. A mother worries that her son will be wooed by a girl with legs that "fall apart as if surprised."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A woman is convicted of possession and sale of drugs. Adults smoke and drink.
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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.
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.
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