By Virginia Euwer Wolff
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001. 264 pgs. Young Adult
LaVaughn's life has been pretty stable for years. She has been friends with Annie and Myrtle since they were little, and LaVaughn and her mother have been planning since fifth grade that LaVaughn will go to college and get away from their run-down, dangerous neighborhood and be able to have a better life. Life starts to have some unpleasant surprises, though. LaVaughn's mother begins dating, Annie and Myrtle are becoming distant and condemning as they join a fanatical club dedicated to Jesus, and while taking the classes and learning the skills that she needs to succeed in life, LaVaughn is accused of being "uppity." One of the biggest obstacles she faces is Jody, a former friend who has moved back into the neighborhood. Only this time, LaVaughn's feelings go beyond friendship, and her struggle to deal with her feelings for him could get in the way of her other goals.
A novel-in-verse about triumph and overcoming obstacles, this book is inspirational without being preachy. It's a good book about persevering, recognizing your mistakes, figuring out what you believe in, and dealing with other people. Although it's the second book in a trilogy (following Make Lemonade), readers will likely be able to follow the story line even without having read the first book.