Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston

Kayla is a strong, intelligent African American girl interested in journalism and feminism. She’s also a gymnast and dancer, but she lives in the shadow of her best friend, Rosalie. Rosalie comes up with an idea to expose the sexist nature of the Lady Lions, the prestigious high school dance team at the girls’ new private school. Kayla will try out for the team and presumably won’t be selected because of her small chest. Then Kayla can expose this scandal by writing about it for her school journalism class. The problem for Kayla is that she discovers that she really wants to be a Lady Lion, and then she does make the team. Now Rosalie feels betrayed and Kayla is trying to juggle her feminist side with her new Lady Lion persona. Kayla is the narrator and the book is full of her own trendy slang (such as stankalicious and crunktacular). Kayla also deals with family problems, some physical encounters with a new boyfriend, and big problems with Rosalie. The concept is good and her character is fresh, but the use of slang and feminist quotes was sometimes overwhelming to the point of pulling me out of the story. I think the author’s desire to portray strong, feminist African American girls overshadows the plot of the story at times. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile book that will appeal to girls trying to find a place in the world.

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