Genre: (juvenile) Fiction
REVIEW: It's Azerica Christian's first day as a freshman in high school and she is fired up and ready to go. It only took seconds for her mom, Candace to snatch the happiness from underneath her as she yelled at her to get her younger sister ready also. Not only is Azerica trying to adjust to life from junior high to high school but she has no support at home and often feels like a "second mom" to her younger siblings. Naturally she turns to her friends for refuge. Devin, her neighbor and childhood best friend is trying to keep Azerica close to the word of God but Trish, her cheer-mate and new best friend is showing her a whole new world (Cue Aladdin and Jasmine) and it's nowhere near the word of God.
So here's the monumental question that Azerica must ask herself...How far was she willing to go to become popular? Being a cheerleader added some points to her popularity scale, but was it enough?
Young, Dumb and Naive is not your average juvenile, coming of age story. As the main character, Azerica's perspective is important but her mom's story is also key, as most complex relationships between mother and daughter are.
KEY THEMES: relationships, religion, motherhood, identity, vulnerability, temptation and self-esteem.
Azerica - 14 year old protagonists
Candace - Azerica's mom - single mom of 3
Jeffrey - Azerica's dad
Devin - Azerica's childhood bestfriend and bible study partner
Jason - Devin's brother
Trish - Azerica's "hoochie mama" new best friend
Darren - Football player and Jason's friend
Dr. Craig - Candace's friend
REFLECTION: Personally, this story had a slow start. Compare it to waiting 15-20 minutes into a movie before you decide to not watch it. I had picked up this book several times rereading the same 2 chapters countless times. It could've also been that I was distracted. Although it had a slow start, when it picked up, it was full steam ahead!! There were several new stories that came up but not enough to distract from the plot. Well maybe one. Trish's story is one that I would have wanted to know more about. Hopefully it will be addressed in the next book in the series. Yes, there is a cliffhanger!!
I would also note that it needed a final edit due to a handful of obvious homophones and repeated words, but not enough to distract you from the story. Overall, I would recommend this story, especially to open up group discussions for teenagers.
Listen to - Parents just don't understand by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
Listen to - A Rose is Still a Rose by Aretha Franklin
Watch - Riding In Cars with Boys
Watch - Eve's Bayou
Watch - Precious