February 5, 2017

Book Review: Dear Yvette by Ni-Ni Simone

"Dear Yvette" by Ni-Ni Simone
Dear Yvette

by Simone, Ni-Ni 
December 2016
256p. Kensington, paperback,
$9.95 (9780758287762)
Grades 9th-12th

In her latest, Simone (‘Throwback Series: Down by Law,”) tackles the topic of second generation families who are wounded by the 80’s drug epidemic within the African-American community.    

Yvette Lavonne Simmons is a sixteen year old mother of a two year old daughter and lives in the DaBricks, one of the toughest housing projects in the Brick City, New Jersey.  Yvette has no stable family, dismal homelife and lacks the guidance of her absentee drug addict parents.   After a street fight ended in a second degree murder charge, her case worker, Janette sends Yvette and her child to a professional parent home in Norfolk, Virginia.  It is here that she is given the opportunity to start over under the guidance of the stern and loving Aunt Glo.   It is Aunt Glo breaks through the teen’s angry and defensive walls and teaches her that she is worthy of a second chance and receiving love.   Other characters such as housemate, Tasha and romantic suitor Brooklyn also help Yvette through this journey of self-awakening.   

Simone cleverly uses the music and culture of the 80’s as a colorful backdrop for Yvette’s story.   High school teachers, librarians and social workers can effectively use “Dear Yvette,” as a cautionary tale for troubled teens.  Overall, this story is a must read for teen street literature fans and should not be missed.   
By K.C. Boyd, Lead Librarian-East St. Louis School District, East St. Louis, Illinois
Source:  Booklist Magazine.  December, 2016

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