February 4, 2010

Review of "A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame" by Brenda Woods

A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Brenda Woods


Published Date: February 4 2010
Pages: 176
ARC received at the ALA Midwinter Conference

Synopsis: If you could get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for anything at all, what would it be? This writing assignment, given out in Ms. Hart's tenth-grade creative writing class, sparks a group of nine students each to tell his/her own story. Readers are introduced to Jake and Shante's interracial romance, Carlos' fear of deportation, and Sunday's determination after being sexually assaulted. These teens persevere through hardship and heartache, laughter and love, and in the end, their voices shine through inspiring journal entries that answer the question in unusual and unexpected ways. Once again, Brenda Woods shows a keen understanding of the teenage psyche, as she did in Emako Blue, winner of the 2005 IRA Children's Choice Young Adult Fiction Award.

This book was short and sweet, but still managed to talk about some pretty sensitive issues. Even though I found the book to be predictable, I still really enjoyed it. This is the type of book that you can read in a few hours and feel completely satisfied. Woods characters are very different, but all have struggles that teens shouldn't have to face. My favorite part of the book was the end when Ms. Hart reads all of the completed final assignments. Even though you follow the stories of the characters, some of them still managed to surprise me. My only criticism of the book is that I'm not sure how honest teens would be with their teacher regarding their personal lives, but then again I may be wrong. I have experienced a lot of adults willing to tell people they don't know well their life stories, so maybe in some instances younger people do it as well. The ending was very cheerful considering some of the events that happened towards the end of the book, but I didn't consider it to be unrealistic. It is just an ending that is supposed to leave you uplifted.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, especially those that deal with urban environments and current social issues. I plan to read more of Woods's work because I did enjoy this book so much. It is a true success when a quick read can leave an impact and Woods was able to do that in "A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame".

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