Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review: Ninth Ward - Jewell Parker Rhodes

Where I got it: ARC from the publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars
Cover Rating: 3 stars (It's a very nice picture, but I'm not sure it would really appeal to teens.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 16, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 217 p.

Lanesha lives in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. Her mama died giving birth to her, so she was raised by the midwife who delivered her, Mama Ya-ya. Now Lanesha is a twelve-year-old girl who loves math, school and her Mama Ya-ya. She doesn't have many friends because she has the sight (the ability to see ghosts) and they all think she's a witch. When Mama Ya-ya feels something bad is coming, besides the impending hurricane Katrina, Lanesha starts to worry about what she has to do.

This was an all-around very touching and enjoyable read. Lanesha was such a straight forward young girl. I loved the slight paranormal aspect woven in that made this a good Southern tale. The story focused more on the strength of getting through the storm, than on the storm's devastation, which I appreciated. I enjoyed all the different characters that were sprinkled throughout the neighborhood and Lanesha's life. I do wish some things were expanded on (like Lanesha's real family) but Lanesha is only twelve and as our narrator we may only know what she knows. If you enjoy Southern stories about a girl who must call on her strengths to survive, pick this one up. Ninth Ward would make a wonderful middle school book discussion pick.

First Line:
"They say I was born with a caul, a skin netting covering me face like a glove."

Favorite Line:
"I think the stars have all been swept away by the storm."

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