Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review: Response (Volponi)

Title: Response
Author: Paul Volponi
Genre: Urban fiction
Pages: 145
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Challenges: POC (22), TBR (12), YA (21)
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library
Summary (from the inside flap): Noah and his friends go to a nearly all-white neighborhood with a plan: steal a car, sell it to a chop shop, and make some fast cash. But that never happens. Instead, Noah, a teen father, is the victim of a vicious beating that leaves him with a fractured skull. Was the attacker protecting his turf, or did he target Noah just because he's black?

Review: Now that I am blogging and have a really long TBR list I realize that I approach books differently. I used to read the back of the book (or the inside flap) and then read the book within a few days. Now I read the summary and add a book to my TBR list and I don't read the book for months sometimes! When I go to read the book I don't re-read the summary because I know I am looking forward to the book. Does that make sense? This means that I am really surprised by the books I am reading and Paul Volponi's Response was no exception.

I had already read Volponi's Black and White and really enjoyed it so I knew I would like this book. I didn't re-read the summary and so had no idea what the book was about. I did know that Volponi writes about the lives of urban teenagers.  When I read his books I really feel like I understand the teens and what they are going through. In this book the issue of hate crimes and racism are in the fore front. Volponi draws the reader in with the hatred shown on both sides, black and white. Both sides are so angry and the results are devastating.

Instead of concentrating the book on the events of the hate crime, the brutality of of the beating and the court case, Volponi's writing is about the emotions, the impact of events on individuals and the larger group. I really liked that! He doesn't ignore these events and they are important and big in the book, but Volponi is also SO good at the emotion and impact.

5 comments:

Jan von Harz said...

I do the same thing. I either read a summary and/or a review of a book, buy it and then when I get to reading it I never read the back or book jacket. It helps me read without bias or a certain expectation. Response sounds interesting and a book I think I would like because of the subject matter. Thanks for this review I will be looking for this one.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Jan--I am glad I'm not the only one who forgets what books are about by the time I read them. It's actually kind of fun!

Aths said...

I am like you. If a book is already in my TBR, I don't read the summary, and then I get surprised when I read the book, wondering what it's about.

Good review!

Edi said...

I think this is the only Volponi I haven't read. Black and white is my favorite of his, Hurricane Song is the least. I'd love to have him visit my school!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Edi--I really liked Black and White too! It was the first Volponi I read. I haven't read Hurricane Song and now probably won't.