Tuesday, January 3, 2017
This is set after Shadowshaper. Tee has received a grant to take over the publishing of the Bed-Stuy Searchlight–the local paper that had been run by Manny. She has three other teens to help her: Mina, Rafael, and Coruscant, although the woman from the group that provided the grant has her own stipulations.
“Cover the neighborhood, write the stories that no one else writes, just try to keep a happy face on it, is all we ask, okay?
If a crime happens, let’s say, and we’re writing about it, make sure to approach it from a sunny angle somehow, you know? Maybe there’s a bright side of it that someone hasn’t seen, but you can? Right? Because that’s what we’re trying to do here, make people happy. The neighborhood is changing a lot, right? So let’s figure out how that’s a positive thing and focus on that, alright? Alright. Ms. Rollins has your stipend checks, so she’s going to pass those out, and we’ll see you on the emails!” Jessica gave a quick, peppy wave and then retreated quickly up the stairs.
Ms. Rollins looked as stunned as everyone else. “Uh … here’s your checks,” she said. “Good luck with that.” She dropped a stack of envelopes on the table next to Tee, raised her eyebrows, waved, and was out.
The door closed. A few seconds passed.
Mina said, “Well, I, for one, am shocked that the white lady doesn’t want us to write about any of the ills of gentrification.”
One of the things I really like about Daniel Jose Older is that he writes real teens. And fantastic dialog.
“You got my coffee, Raffi?”
“Claro que sí.” He passed her a warm blue-and-white paper cup. “Extra cream and sugar like you said, mi jefa.”
“Did you just call me a heffa?”
“Jefa! Jefa! Boss-lady.”
This story is a mystery, a romance, and a general teens being teens story, all in one.
The mystery is the ghost girl in the church basement (where the paper is published) that only Tee can see. The romance is Tee and Izzy working through their differences and problems, and the teens being teens is fun.
And, if you’ve read Midnight Taxi Tango, a character from there makes an appearance. It’s very brief, but it made me happy.
Even if you haven’t read Shadowshaper, you should be able to read this story.
And enjoy it!
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books