Rodney, an aspiring Japanese American rap musician, learns about his heritage and the importance of being oneself after trying to impress a rich uncle and a beautiful classmate.
Rodney Suyama, 17, has two goals: to be the first Asian rap star and to win the affection of his classmate Ivy Ramos. But she already has a boyfriend-the school's football hero. And Rodney's sister, Suzanne, a college sophomore, discourages his musical ambitions (``You gotta be black. They're the only guys that are cool rappers,'' she tells him). Then a paired assignment ignites a promising friendship with Ivy. On the home front, Rodney and Suzanne join forces to convince an estranged great-uncle that they've retained their Japanese heritage; an impending visit will decide if the siblings will receive his inheritance. Okimoto (My Mother Is Not Married to My Father) portrays varying degrees of racism-from a hurtful slur to the grievous U.S. internment camps of WWII. The dialogue and Rodney's bouncy first-person narration include both contemporary teenage lingo and Japanese vocabulary. Although the plot is essentially slim, it's strengthened by Rodney's wit, determination and sunny outlook. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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August 01, 2011
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