fp January 2002
from the book...
Something's going on. Something more
than a high school poetry assignment.
Kids are taking a look, leaning in close,
asking why and how.
Wesley: Look, at least in Mr Ward's
class, we make it easy. You want to fit
in? Just bring your poetry every Open
Mike Friday and share right along with
the rest of us.
Is that the plan?
To force confrontation?
Devon: Playing b-ball, that's my game.
I've got good height and good hands,
and that's a fact. But what about the
rest of me?
I woke up this morning
exhausted from hiding
the me of me...
Tyrone: Ali was a boxer and a poet.
Eighteen teenagers take on the risky challenge of self-revelation - and grapple with its unsettling, intoxicating consequences. Together and separately their words and lives clash and question, search and shout, creating bonds that intertwine, pull them close, and set them free.
Tune in, turn the page, discover what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.
If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A
Bronx Masquerade is the touching and sad story of eighteen high school students who, at the start of the year, have only one thing in common - they are all in Mr Ward's English class. These eighteen teenagers must tackle all of the usual teenage issues: love, friendship, family, racism, sexism, secrets, death and growing up. Along with these issues, they all feel down, all want what the others have but most of all they feel alone; they all think that no one else will understand their problems. Through what they come to call 'Open Mike Friday', a day in English that they read poetry aloud, they see into each other's lives and learn that maybe, just maybe, they're not as alone as they thought. Maybe, just maybe people might understand their problems
This was an interesting novel that I found exciting and different. Although it was hard to keep track of the eighteen characters throughout their journeys, it was definitely worth the trouble. I found it to be a realistic insight to teenage life without the author going over the top. Although it was a verse novel, Nikki Grimes still put in chapters that lead to the poetry that the kids wrote. To me it was like a normal young adult novel with a bit of a twist. If you like young adult novels then I would definitely recommend this book to you as I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Brooke, Year 10, Canberra, Australia