Monday, June 9, 2008

Snitch-- Allison van Diepen

After both the girls and the boys at the Juvenile Detention Center kept begging me for more books by Allison van Diepen, I figured I better read one and see what all the hype is about. I am really glad I did. It is easy to get sucked into my role as librarian and forget that teens are the target audience for all this teen fiction I read... so I should really take any book recommendation that teens give me! Anyway, on to Snitch...

Snitch is not a nickname you want... especially when you go to South Bay High School in Brooklyn. The Crips and the Bloods rule the school, and you have to be very careful and more than a little lucky to avoid the tangled webs of gangs when you live where Julia does. For most teens, high school can be a survival game, at least emotionally, but for Julia, everyday is literally a fight for her life. When she wrongfully gets pegged as a snitch, she joins the Crips for protection... and learns the hard way that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

I really appreciated that Snitch didn't have a preachy anti-violence, anti-gang message. As any teen who lives in an area dominated by gangs will tell you, it's usually not as easy as just saying no. Without the heavy-handedness that many authors have, van Diepen tells a story that has an underlying anti-gang anti-drug message, but lets her characters make mistakes and learn the hard way. If you like realistic, urban fiction, this is the book for you.

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