Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: Pinned by Sharon G. Flake

Pinned by Sharon G. Flake

It felt like everyone in the blogosphere was reading this book last fall and there was a bit of a campaign for folks to put their money where their mouths were and pony up to purchase this title which NOT ONLY has a clearly identifiable African American girl (Autumn, the protagonist) on the cover, but ALSO features another clearly identifiable African American boy, without legs and in a wheelchair (Adonis, the other protagonist) on the back cover.

Inside the Book

Having read the title, I can assure you that it is not the only reason to buy and/or read this book.  The main reason one should get familiar with this book is because it tackles the tough subjects of disability and stereotypes head-on with characters who are the definition of real.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's start with a little synopsis...

Autumn is the school's only female wrestler - and she's good.  And not just "for a girl."  She has a chance at winning State's.  What's she not good at is school.  Her family moved around a lot when she was younger, and she just couldn't seem to keep pace with reading and math.  Before too long there seemed no way to catch up.  But she's got wrestling, and that's what's important.  And did I mention she can bake the heck out of red velvet?

Adonis is perfect in every way.  Intelligent, generous with his time and talents and adored by teachers (and Autumn) he has it all.  Except for his legs.  He was born without them.  But he's never let that stop him from doing anything.  He won't stand for people who don't give 100%, and that's why Autumn drives him crazy.

Autumn has a crush on Adonis.  She is consumed.  And he can't stand her.  Autumn fawns all over Adonis, but he won't give her the time of day, and he certainly won't tutor her when she isn't serious about doing well in school.  He knows she just needs better grades in order to wrestle, and can't respect that or her.  Besides that, he can't really believe that she wants to date him.  He's always been confident about himself and never let his lack of legs keep him from standing tall, but letting another person inside?  It's not going to happen.

So much to love about this book!  Adonis is arrogant.  He sees himself as self-assured and confident, but the truth is that he looks down on others.  Not out of jealousy for what they have that he does not, but for the way they waste their talents and abilities.  Autumn is sincere.  She speaks openly and honestly.  She admits her faults and weaknesses (even if she can't sometimes handle addressing them and working to fix them) and is proud of her strengths.  Everything about her is genuine and sincere.  Being inside each of their heads as the chapters alternate is revealing, not just about the character who is narrating, but also about those around them.  Autumn pursues Adonis, and not just casually, but with a force and strength that defies better judgment.  Though not the strongest student, she has an honest curiosity about her world and the people in it.  Though sometimes painful, it is refreshing to see a character with that much personal fortitude.

Anyway, I've yammered on long enough.  Just read the book, okay? Haha.

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