Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth

Jarrett's mom takes in foster kids.  Usually babies whom need a safe place for a short period of time.  But this time it's not just a baby.  It's a baby and her older brother.  Jarrett hates having to share his room Kevon, a total stranger, and doesn't appreciate people assuming they're cousins or friends.  And since Kevon's father can't be found, it looks like they'll be staying for a while...

I thought this was really well done.  It showed Jarrett's complex feelings about what his mother does.  It's admirable and selfless that his mother takes in babies.  Jarrett knows that.  But sometimes he feels like it's all about the babies.  They can't do anything, or go anywhere.  He feels like he doesn't get as much of his mother's attention as he should.  His mother's been talking about going back to school for years, but hasn't.  And it's hard, getting attached to the babies and then having them leave.

Jarrett is 11 and Kevon is 12.  The start off pretty much ignoring each other.  But it's summer, and Kevon ends up going with Jarrett to the Center, where Kevon instantly makes friends with all the guys and turns out to be awesome at basketball.  Jarrett is a little jealous and wants to take Kevon down a peg.  The two sabotage each other back and forth, until they each do something to each other that is possibly unforgivable.

Kevon situation was realistically sad.  He had his sister, Treasure, end up with Jarrett's family because Treasure is hurt, social services are call,  and their father can't be found.  Kevon insists he doesn't know where his father is, but Jarrett is pretty sure he's lying.  It turns out that Kevon's father is mentally unstable and off his medication.  Kevon has mostly been caring for Treasure on his own.

Other, less serious stuff is going on as well.  There's a girl Jarrett really likes but can't get up the courage to talk to.  Jarrett and his friend Ennis, who has a secret of his own, are making movie trailers.  Jarrett is in summer school and he's afraid he might have to repeat a grade.  All this stuff about Kevon and his father make Jarrett wonder about his own father, about who he knows nothing.

I thought it was a really well done guys-friendship book, and one that might ring true for a lot of kids.

Kinda Like Brothers comes out August 26, 2014.

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