Like Sisters on the Homefront
Like Sisters on the Homefront

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Annotation: A street smart African-American girl from New York City is sent with her baby to live with her very proper relatives in the South.
Catalog Number: #177285
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Dutton
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition Date: 1997
Pages: 165 pages
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-14-038561-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-29925-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-14-038561-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-29925-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 95003690
Dimensions: 18 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
When fourteen-year-old Gayle becomes pregnant a second time, her mother sends her to Georgia to live with her Uncle Luther. Strong-willed and impulsive, Gayle eventually makes friends with her pious cousin Constance but develops a true affinity for Luther's stubborn, spirited grandmother. Gayle and her bedridden great-grandmother are enduring protagonists in this exceptional novel featuring Williams-Garcia's dynamic narrative style.
Kirkus Reviews
A moving story of a fresh-mouthed, 14-year-old mother who finds strong roots in her family's past and the means for going forward. When Gayle is pregnant for the second time, her mother drags her off for an abortion, then puts her and her infant son on a plane for Georgia. Her unclea ministerand his wife and daughter meet her with greatly varying degrees of welcome. Culture shock makes for some rough times, but Gayle unexpectedly discovers a kindred spirit in her bedridden great-grandmother, who not only becomes a confidante, but in an intense, spellbinding climactic scene passes on their family's history in a way that binds Gayle and her son firmly to past, present, and future. Williams-Garcia (Fast Talk On A Slow Track, 1991) plays off Gayle's street-forged language (no profanity, but otherwise authentically rude and gritty), expectations, and values brilliantly against her relatives' gentler conventions. Gayle is sharp and strong-minded, but gut-wrenchingly naive about some things; she continually startles, and is startled by, her devout, strictly raised cousin Cookie. Without moralizing, the author gives readers a good, hard look at the limitations of a world view in which sex and children are casual events (Gayle's indifference to her abortion and to her son's father is downright chilling), then suggests that with love, respect and a push at the right time, no rut is too deep to escape. A gift from a gifted storyteller. (Fiction. 12-up)"
Publishers Weekly
A streetwise teenage mother goes to live with religious relatives in Georgia in this """"unusually perceptive, streetwise novel,"""" said PW in a starred review. """"The emotions ring true, as does the portrait of contemporary black culture."""" Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 7 Up--This is a wonderful book about going home again, about the strength of family love, and about the power of friendship. Gayle is a black 14-year-old mother who, when she becomes pregnant again, is sent South to do some growing up among relatives she doesn't know and doesn't particularly like. Streetwise, sullen, disrespectful, and angry, she gradually comes under the spell of her wise and very old great-grandmother. Great is feisty, quarrelsome, soils herself, and never leaves her room, but with her dying words gives Gayle the gift of both the past and the future. Gayle comes to know her aunt and uncle, and especially her cousin, but she also discovers what her mother must have been like as a young woman. This knowledge allows her to better understand the importance of family and friendship. Beautifully written, the text captures the cadence and rhythm of New York street talk and the dilemma of being poor, black, and uneducated. This is a gritty, realistic, well-told story that will make an excellent addition to YA fiction collections.--Carol Jones Collins, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* At 14, Gayle is pregnant. Again. The first time she kept the baby. This time her mother drags Gayle to have an abortion and then sends her away from the projects in Jamaica, New York, on a one-way ticket to family in Georgia. For Gayle, it's like being "sold to slavery." She's never met her mother's family, and they don't particularly want her in their big mansion. Her uncle is a pastor; her sweet teenage cousin, Cookie, looks as if she's "straight out of Mommy-Made-Me magazine." Gayle shocks them with her street talk, her cussing, and her free and unrepentant talk of sex. She hates being in a house full of Holy Rollers "whose rap is praise the Lord." Only her great-grandmother, a soul mate, loves Gayle's spirit, laughs at her irreverence, and tells Gayle the family history of slavery, protest, and faith. Like Williams-Garcia's Fast Talk on a Slow Track (1991), this story isn't strong on plot. There are lots of loose ends, and the bonding between the two cousins is contrived. Although Gale finally finds her way home, this is far from a simplistic problem novel. The characters are drawn with depth and affection. The dialogue snaps and swings from raucous insult and jealous anger to painful lyricism. Gayle's voice has some of rap's outrageous self-parody. Best of all is the ironic collision of class and culture between the urban kid and her protected cousin. Gayle is both world-weary and abysmally ignorant, sophisticated and innocent, streetwise and nearly illiterate. She thinks she's tough, and she is, but her rudeness and her humor hide her heartbreak. Teens will welcome this funny, candid story about a world too long absent from YA fiction.
Word Count: 41,854
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 14900 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.8 / points:8.0 / quiz:Q06877
Lexile: 750L
Guided Reading Level: Z+
Fountas & Pinnell: Z+

From National Book Award finalist Rita Williams-Garcia!

When Gayle gets into trouble with her boyfriend, her mother sends the street-smart 14-year-old and her baby, Jose down to Georgia, to live with Uncle Luther and his family. There's nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one around except kneesock-wearing, Jesus-praising cousin Cookie. Then Gayle meets Great, the family matriarch and her stories of the past begin to change how Gayle sees her future.

"Williams-Garcia has surpassed herself. She has set these fictional characters firmly in the real world while still allowing them to rise from the pages and into readers hearts and imaginations." The Horn Book, starred review

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