Teenie

Grant, C. (2010). Teenie. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Print.

Reader’s Annotation

High school freshman Teenie is a smart girl who works hard to stay on the good side of her parents. She wants to travel to Spain in her school’s study abroad program next year, so she’s got an awful lot on the line when she and her best friend hatch a plan to get Gregory, capitan of the basketball team, to notice her.

Plot Summary

High school freshman Teenie is doing everything she can get accepted into the prestigious study abroad program at her Brooklyn high school. There’s only one hitch: her over protective, old school father. After Teenie gets her braces off she feels like she can conquer the world, throws caution to the win and under the tutelage of her worldly best friend, Cherise, Teenie hatches a plan to get exactly what she wants, including the attention from the absolutely dreamy basketball player she’s been drooling over all year.

Things aren’t as easy as they seem though, Cherise and Teenie have a falling out and acceptance into the study abroad program seems tenuous at best. Teenie’s crush turns into a nightmare and without anyone to talk to Teenie doesn’t know how to cope with a situation that is spiraling quickly out of her control.  Will Teenie and Cherise patch things up? Can she convince her dad to let her study in Spain next year, will she even get into the program?

Critical Evaluation

Teenie falls into the category of “urban” YA fiction. I don’t know if that is because it takes place in New York or if it is because the story is about black kids, though I fear it may be the latter, because I’ve read several novels that take place in San Francisco and none of them are in the “urban” category. Political correctness aside Teenie is a good title for teens because it deals with a lot of the problems that girls are dealing with in high schools across the county, without being overly patronizing or stereotypical. There are no pregnancy scares, baby mamas, or gun violence in Teenie, but there is naiveté, sexual violence, and the furious anger and righteous indignation that teen girls are so prone to. Christopher Grant does a good job of representing the voice of so called “urban” youth without coming off as pandering or racist and for that reason, if nothing else this is a book worth reading.

Author Information

Christopher Grant was raised in Brooklyn and went to Stony Brook University, obtaining degrees in Economics and Human Resource Management. He works as an equities trader and lives in Harlem. Teenie is his first novel, he was inspired to write it when he read that publishers were looking for works authored by men written from a female perspective. Grant figured that growing up in a household dominated by strong female influences made him as much of an authority as anyone else.

Genre

Young Adult Fiction, Urban, African American

Curriculum Ties

n/a

Booktalk Ideas

What kind of person does Teenie what to be? How does this differ from the person that she presents to her friends and family?

Reading Level/Interest Age 

14+

Challenge Issues

The sexual abuse that takes place in this book may be offensive to some parents. It is not our intention to condone or to teach young people about sexual violence. The issues discussed in Teenie are very real ones that teens face every day. It is important that teens have a safe space to discuss the problems that they face and understand that their concerns and fears are legitimate. This library does not support censorship and defends every reader’s right to read. Our collection policy clearly reflects our dedication to the ALA Library Bill of Rights; however, patrons are welcome to request that any title be reconsidered by submitting a formal request. All final decisions are made by the director after board review.

Reason for inclusion

The perspective of the urban black teen is sadly lacking in the collection thus far, this title is included in an attempt to equalize the content.

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