I don’t usually read a lot of YA novels focused on Caribbean protagonists because I don’t think they fully address the issues that young adults are experiencing these days but I loved Inner City Girl. Martina is a smart girl living in a rural neighbourhood who manages to pass for Milverton High (a school which is only attended by rich kids and children of influential people). However, everything seems to be against her excelling in this new school; her community’s and Milverton students’ behaviour towards, her family’s problems, constantly being hungry and the consequences that come from being a student of Milverton. It’s a wonderfully written novel that speaks volumes about the struggles inner city children face, the social hierarchy in prestigious schools and surviving against the obstacles that are sure to head your way. Thanks to Inner City Girl, I’m on a quest to read as much Caribbean novels featuring teens as I can this summer.
I read America by E.R. Frank when I was still in high school and it’s one of those novels that has just stuck with me. America follows the life of a fifteen year-old biracial boy named “America” who finds himself lost in the Child Services system. What he does to survive and the person he becomes is so gut-wrenching to read but still so inspirational. I think this book is one of the roughest novels I’ve ever read and that’s probably why it’s stayed at the forefront of my mind all these years. After reading this book, I started hunting down other books by E.R. Frank like Life is Funny, Friction and Wrecked.