Reviews for Hot Girl
Booklist Reviews 2008 December #1
Having bounced repeatedly between juvie and foster homes, Kate has decided to lose her gangsta image. Her new social worker and her new foster parents have helped bring on this transformation, but even their powerful influence pales next to that of her stylish new friend, Naleejah. Jordan only occasionally waxes didactic in this story of a young, African American woman striving to make a future for herself against huge odds. Both Kate and Naleejah, a bad influence, are complex characters. Kate, with her fiery temper and uncanny ability to self-destruct, contrasts with needy Naleejah, neglected by her parents after her sister s death. With authentic dialogue and honest situations, this will resonate with teens, although some readers may be puzzled by Kate s strong willpower against a guy s sexual advances when that same steeliness is so difficult to muster in other situations. Many readers, though, will unconsciously absorb some of Kate s grit, determination, and hope by the end of this realistic novel. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Express Reviews
Verdict: Teen readers will relate to the smart, strong-willed protagonist, Kate. A foster child since she was a baby, Kate comes of age when she lands in a stable foster home (after 12 tries). Jordan's thoughtfully rendered characterizations and explanations for Kate's behavior are refreshingly authentic. This novel has the makings of a YA classic, and every YA collection should have a copy. Readers will hope for a sequel. Background: Fourteen-year-old Kate, who's living in Brooklyn, has a huge crush on her childhood friend, Charles. When her best friend goes to South Africa for the summer, Kate is left in the hood to fend for herself. She hangs out in the library, takes pictures with her foster father's digital camera, and works on her "life book." When Kate befriends a "hot girl," a wifey in the making named Naleejah, Kate's old demons begin to resurface. As Kate tries to deal with her feelings for Charles, Naleejah betrays her in the worst way. At summer's end, Kate reclaims her esteem and forgets her need to be a "hot girl."-Vanessa J. Irvin Morris, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 April
Gr 8-10--Tired of bouncing from foster family to foster family, Kate, 14, is trying to make it in her new placement in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn. She's finally getting good grades and has a great friend in good-girl Felicia. When Felicia goes away for the summer, fly-girl Naleejah befriends Kate, winning her over by giving her a makeover and teaching her how to grab the attention of her longtime crush. But when Kate lies and goes to a house party on Long Island, she risks her newfound stability. Characterizations are strong, and voices realistic. There are some sexual situations and drug use, but Kate seems to have her head on straight. Through her, Jordan sends a message about doing the right thing, which sometimes seems a bit preachy. The outcome of Kate's story is positive, and those looking for soft street-lit titles will find the book appealing.--Emily Anne Valente, New York Public Library [Page 137]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2008 December
Fourteen-year-old Kate knows all about tough times. Abandoned by her parents, she has been bouncing around foster homes all her life. As Kate is watching her crush, Charles, play basketball, she is intrusively befriended by Naleejah, a flashy dresser with "a fierce sexy strut." Kate's true best friend, Felicia, is traveling in South Africa for the summer, so Naleejah's shallow company feels better than nothing. Najeelah straightens Kate's hair and gives her cute clothes, but she also draws Kate into fights and the local dope scene. Kate has worked hard to gain distance from her own troubled past, mainly because Felicia has called out Kate's intelligence and challenged her to become more than a cheap gangster. But with Felicia so far away, Kate finds it nearly impossible to avoid disaster, with girlfriend Najeelah playing the chief instigator. Although Kate's story comes across in the same gritty vein as other African American urban novels, it is very much a character study. Using street dialect, Jordan explores Kate's inner struggles to control frustration and rage while maintaining a positive vision for the future. Readers will cheer as Kate realizes that the much-cherished Charles is really a hapless player and that Najeelah is not only self-centered but also deeply troubled. Librarians will be pleased with an urban fiction offering that does not drag its characters through melodramatic depravity but instead shows teens how it is possible to consciously choose the direction of one's life.-Diane Colson. [Editor's Note: See a discussion of understanding foster teens through young adult literature in Andrea Rex's article Home for a While in this issue. 4Q 4P M J S Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.