Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting Even by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Main Characters: Camille, Alexis, Jasmine, and Angel
Location: Houston, Texas
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Fiction, Girl Power
Series: The Good Girlz #4

I first heard of the Good Girlz series when I read an entry on The Brown Bookshelf blog about African American Christian Fiction for teens. I ordered the series and got this volume first. (One of the rules of ordering series fiction for a library--the books rarely come in at the same time, and never in order.) Once it hit the shelf, it immediately got checked out and has hardly stayed on the shelf since.

Camille has (as usual) fallen in love. Her new boyfriend, Vic, sounds like a paragon. Alexis has met a new guy, too--Anthony. Could these guys be too good to be true?

One interesting thing that the author does is tell the story in alternating chapters from the point of view of Jasmine and Angel. Jasmine is usually with Camille, and witnesses the fight when Vic's jealous and violent ex-girlfriend confronts Camille. Angel becomes Alexis's sounding board. Neither Jasmine nor Angel have current boyfriends--Jasmine's last relationship ended when her guy went off to college and they discovered they couldn't make a long-distance relationship work. Angel is too busy watching her baby to worry about dating. So they are involved, but have a bit of distance.

There is a nice twist about halfway through the book, and I think it's a shame that the twist is revealed in the summary on the back of the book. (And I am trying very hard NOT to reveal the twist, which is why I'm sounding a bit vague here.) Jasmine learns a secret and knows she needs to tell Camille and Alexis but is afraid of hurting them. Instead, she waits too long and they find out another way--and then consider Jasmine a traitor for not telling them.

The main focus of the book, though, is not the boyfriends--it's the friendship shared by these four girls who come from varied backgrounds and were brought together through a church group. Don't think that the church connection makes them a bunch of goody-goodies, though. They struggle, they fall, and they learn.

This is the 4th book in the series. There are references to events that happened in the previous books, but it can stand alone--you don't need to have read the earlier books to follow the story. However, I like these girls enough to go and seek out the earlier books (which we just received in the library yesterday) so that I can spend more time with Camille, Jasmine, Angel and Alexis (and find out why they don't care much for Tameka.)

I have decided to accept the Diversity Rocks! challenge issued by Ali. For the year 2009, I will read (at least) one book a month written by an author of color. This is my first entry for this year. For more information about the challenge and links to others participating, check out the Diversity Rocks! page.

And I am giving myself a personal challenge--I will also try to read at least one non-fiction book a month. Let's see how I do with both challenges.

1 comment:

Ali said...

This is great, Susan. I need more material to compile a diverse reading list of Christian Fiction for the Diversity Rocks! blog, so this is perfect. Thanks for joining the challenge!