Emako Blue was supposed to be a star. She was beautiful and good-hearted. She was Monterey's best friend. She was the only girl Jamal cared about, the one who saw through his player act. She was the one who understood the burden of Eddie's family. She was the best singer anyone had ever heard, with a voice like vanilla incense, smoky and sweet. She was Savannah's rival, the one who wouldn't play by the rules. She was destined for greatness, already plucked from South Central Los Angeles by the record producers. She was only fifteen when she died.
Gr 7 Up-In Los Angeles, Monterey, Jamal, Eddie, and Emako follow the rules, avoid trouble, and plan to make something of themselves, despite the odds. Eddie and Emako are keenly aware of how difficult that can be; both live in South Central L.A. and have older brothers in prison. With her confident attitude, endearing nature, incredible singing voice, and exceptional beauty both inside and out, Emako makes a lasting impression on everyone. Monterey is thrilled to have her as a best friend. Jamal is in love with her. Eddie is glad to have a confidante who understands his family troubles. Emako is even nice to wealthy but unhappy Savannah, who is jealous of her. When Emako's brother is released from jail, she becomes the victim of a drive-by shooting meant for him. The teens' world is torn apart as they mourn their senseless loss. This short, succinct, and poignant story of friendship, family, and overwhelming sadness will leave some readers in tears. Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of Emako's friends; additionally, some chapters are told from Savannah's perspective. Steered by perceptive dialogue, the story takes readers from Emako's funeral, through flashbacks, to the moment she is killed, to the shock and sorrow that follow her death, bringing it full circle. Each character is well drawn and believable, especially Emako. The strength of this book is in its simplicity, as it was in Woods's The Red Rose Box (Putnam, 2002).-Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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December 28, 2005
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