THE MOUSE RAP

Mouse is a nice, bright 14-year-old—but not quite sure how he feels about his dad turning up after an absence of eight years to date his mom and to make a clumsy effort to be friends with him. Mouse is also interested in gifts—but not enough to threaten his long-term friendship with buddy Styx, who is as tall as Mouse is short. During an eventful Harlem summer, the two are involved in a treasure hunt: the grandfather of one of the girls in their group knows another old codger who knows a kid in Queens whose grandmother once showed him where a gangster hid his loot. There really is money hidden—not as much as they imagined, but, still, found amid some satisfactory TV publicity; more important, Mouse weathers his first romance and reaffirms his friendship with Styx. Introducing each chapter with a dozen or so lines of rap, Myers uses its musical devices to splendid advantage in Mouse's narrative. Puns, rhythms, and glancing humore enrich a text that would have intrigued James Joyce with its inspired use of sound and allusion. Meanwhile, Myers paints a memorable portrait of a good kid who still likes to confide in his mother but who is finding that he may want to keep the sex life he's about to have private—and whose adventures can be as funny (and as fundamentally innocent) as Woody Allen trying to rob a bank. A beautifully written, thoroughly entertaining caper; an impressive addition to Myers' already impressive Oeuvre.

Pub Date: April 25, 1990

ISBN: 0064403564

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1990

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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