Sunday, January 25, 2015

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

★ 1/2
"If you want something to grow  and be so beautiful, you could have a nice day just from looking at it, you have to wait."

Fourteen-year-old LaVaughn is determined to get out of her poor neighborhood and go to college.  After her father was accidently killed in a drive by shooting, her mother, who has always encouraged her to study and work hard, raised her.  When she answers a babysitting add for a part-time job, she meets seventeen-year-old Jolly, mother of two small children.  Jolly is a single mother and struggles to support her kids on her own while working at a low paying job.  When Jolly loses her job, LaVaughn decides to keep babysitting for her even though she is not getting paid.  LaVaughn eventually convinces Jolly to enroll in the Moms-Up program at her school so she can finish high school while her children are in the free daycare program.

I enjoyed reading this book.  The free verse style and short chapters brought an interesting aspect to the novel.  Even though the book was easy to read, the author included a lot of underlining themes dealing with teenagers living in poverty.  I thought it was unique that the two main characters were a few years apart even though LaVaughn (the younger of the two) seemed more mature and often provided Jolly with advice.  The author slowly allows readers to understand some of Jolly’s problems and why she makes the decisions that she does.  I would recommend this book to others, especially younger teenagers.  Many of the situations mentioned in the novel provide a greater understanding of some of the tough things that many teenagers have to face on a daily basis.  Even though it included many rough elements, the novel ends on a positive note and can serve as inspiration for young adults dealing with these issues.

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