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Begging for change

by Sharon Flake


Book Review

:

Publishers Weekly :

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Once again, Flake captures the essence of inner city life as she continues her insightful saga of Raspberry Hill, an impoverished teen obsessed with getting money whatever way she can. As in Money Hungry, Raspberry's determination to build a nest egg for herself and her mother leads to trouble. On two occasions, Raspberry steals cash from friends. Although she receives no actual punishment for her acts, she does have to bear the guilt and regret of knowing she has committed some serious breaches in trust. Readers who judge Raspberry harshly at first may have a change of heart as complex motives for the protagonist's impulsive behavior come to light. At times it may appear that Raspberry is trapped by her grim environment, yet the author pointedly implies that the teenager does have choices. Raspberry can give in to despair, like her errant, drug-addict father, or she can break the cycle of poverty, like her mother's boyfriend, Dr. Mitchell, who managed to escape the projects without compromising his integrity. Touching upon issues of prejudice, street violence, homelessness and identity crises, this poignant novel sustains a delicate balance between gritty reality and dream fulfillment. In the end, after moving to a better neighborhood and admitting her crimes to her mother, Raspberry seems to be taking some positive steps in the right direction. However, enough loose ends remain untied so that fans will be left eager for another episode. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

Book Review

:

School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-8-This sequel to Money Hungry (Hyperion, 2001) offers a compelling slice of urban life for a contemporary African-American teen. When Raspberry Hill's mother is hit in the head with a metal pipe and hospitalized, the 14-year-old steals money from her wealthy best friend's purse. She does odd jobs to earn additional money, only to have it stolen by her homeless, drug-addicted father more than once. Readers come to know Raspberry, her friends, and the people around her. While some are dangerous, a sense of community caring comes through, and she finds help among supportive adults. She is a survivor with a good heart, although she questions herself along the way, always worrying that she will end up like her father. With good friends and a truly loving mother to help her through, it's clear that Raspberry will make it, even if she gets a little bruised in the process. A story with an inspiring but not preachy message.-Sunny Shore, Chestnut Ridge Middle School, NY

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

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