Angel and Hannah are the epitome of being young and in love and believing themselves to be grown enough to take on the world. Hannah is a first-gen Korean-American from Jamaica Queens, whose parents, no surprise, disapprove of her interracial relationship with Puerto Rican Angel from Brooklyn. Their disapproval would run even deeper if they knew he’s a drug dealing high school drop-out. Nevertheless, Angel shows up at Hannah’s graduation with a $2 rose from the bodega. So sweet. Not long afterwards, Hannah packs her stuff and leaves home as her mother silently hopes that Hannah’s father won’t beat her daughter as he beats her.
I loved the adorably awkward Norris Kaplan in Ben Philippe’s The Field Guide to the North American Teenager. The Haitian-Canadian teen is a fish out of water when he moves to Austin, Texas, with his mother. The poor boy is “The New Kid” in high school and is having trouble adjusting to the Texas heat and making friends. At least he’s found a hockey team for some semblance of home.
Convicted at the age of nine for the death of an eight-week-old baby girl Annalise, Mary B. Addison is serving time at a group home for convicted teens. Allowed to have a part-time job at a nursing home and to leave the group home on weekends wearing an ankle bracelet, Mary much rather prefers the group home to what she calls “baby jail,” where she first initially was serving her sentence.
Biggie. Tupac. Lauryn Hill. Lil Kim. Hip Hop. Late 90s. Let Me Hear a Rhyme was published in 2019 for today’s youngsters, but it was a trip down memory lane for this child of the 80s and 90s.