Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shortie Like Mine-Ni-Ni Simone

Shortie Like Mine
Ni-Ni Simone
Dafina, Aug 2008, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758228390

In Newark size fourteen sixteen years old Seven “Big Mama” McKnight struggles somewhat with self esteem as the thickest person on her clique, but being bigger also makes her feel she is fly. However, she is worried about her twin sister Toi who sneaks out of the house to be with her hood of a boyfriend. She also hides her feelings for the school’s star baler Josiah, who is seeing her friend Deeyah.

When Melvin “Big Country” arrives from Murfreesboro, North Carolina, he likes Big Mama whom he calls “Shawtie”, but she rejects his passes. Instead her best friend Shae begins seeing him. Meanwhile Deeyah starts playing with Josiah’s enemy Dollah; so Josiah dumps her and begins trying to get Seven to go with him. Seven wants to fly with Josiah, but also fears destroying their clique, but that may be too late as she and Shae are on one side of the divide and Deeyah with Ki-Ki and Yaanah on the other.

This is an entertaining character driven urban teen relationship drama that brings alive an inner city extended clique. Seven holds the story line together as the 360 degree focus with her struggles between loyalties pulling her in differing directions. She wants to do right by her friends, her family, Josiah; and others, but realizes someone probably her will be hurt regardless of what she does even doing nothing. The hip hop vernacular adds freshness that enables the young adult reader to feel even closer to the strong cast especially the superstar Seven as fans will say yeah-yeah to Ni-Ni Simone’s superb in the hood teen tale.

Harriet Klausner

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