CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 28. . . .March 26, 2010
When high school junior Luisa Perez accepts the role of anonymous columnist for her high school newspaper, she unknowingly steps into the position that will catapult her from high school boredom and obscurity into a new world of notoriety. Positioned around the Chicago City Literacy Challenge, Lu, along with an unknown male columnist, document the fundraising events as the males and females at Dunfield High each attempt to outdo each other. What starts as innocent reporting escalates to a full-on battle of the sexes in print. While attempting to navigate herself through the sexual politics at hand, Lu enters the dating world head-on, spars with her older sister, and works part-time at a neighborhood diner to help keep her family together.
While the premise of girls v. boys might be off-putting to some readers, Collins and Rideout have meticulously created a story in which the quirky and realistic characters emerge to overshadow the gendered storyline. Lu and her two best friends mirror authentic teenagers, from their initial disapproval of anything “extra-curricular” to their sometimes-inane focus on boys. While Collins and Rideout use these character traits to build connections to the reader, they inevitably create believable, strong, smart girl characters that are worthy of praise and admiration. While the writers do create certain “issues” in Luisa’s life, such as literacy, teen pregnancy, and high school dropouts, they do not highlight these as the main focus of the book. Instead Collins and Rideout weave these into the background and setting, perhaps making them more effective to the average reader.
Megan Lankford is a student at the University of British Columbia earning a Masters of Arts in Children's Literature.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.