Monday, March 2, 2009


Kendra, the second book by New School graduate Coe Booth, is an interesting read. Although I wasn't as compelled by the voice as I was in Tyrell, her first book, the premise kept me turning pages. Booth's work infuses themes and plot points from the culture of "street lit" with a definite "high literary" sensibility. What I find most refreshing, sophisticated, and admirable about her novels is the way in which they resolve themselves. They do not fall victim to a Pollyanna happy ending, nor do they wallow in despair; instead, there is a very authentic mixture of hope and resignation that is profoundly interesting. The ending of Kendra is such that if you explained it to someone, they would probably have a hard time imagining how a character got there and how anyone could possibly see it as a step up. I imagine many teachers and parents have had a hard time with this book, finding its content implausible or not relevant for "their" students, but, based on all of my experience working with young people, it is certainly plausible and absolutely relevant. This is exactly why it should be published, purchased, and read by as many people as possible, young and old alike. So, get out there and buy your copy and send that message to the industry.

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