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Walter Dean Myers’s Street Love is everything I love about young adult literature and more.  The compelling story of Junice and Damien, two opposites living in New York pulled together by the mystery of human chemistry.  Junice juggles her mother’s incarceration, the threat of Child Protective Services, and the bloom of new love with a boy who she is afraid to depend on.  Damien has to follow his heart despite all the people in his life warning him against the drama.  This story is told in poetry form, creating specific voices and styles particular to each character.  Damien’s banter with his friends reminded me of a modern Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio.  However, the format doesn’t seem contrived or inaccessible.  The words are raw, real, and full of feeling.  There are so many moments I wanted to shout aloud for anyone who would listen.

5.  We drone along the faceless highway

That is the history of my life

Telephone poles, light poles, pretending

Differences, pretending they are not the

Thousand pages etched of who I am (p. 22)

4.  We are dancers, she with bare feet

And dangling bracelets, the native child

Burned by the coopper sun

I am the explorer

Discovering that there are two

Sides to the ocean (p. 75)

3.  I had become a shining star, a burning nova

Exploded with love

Flying through and endlessly

Expanding universe (p. 86)

2.  Life will resume, the too-familiar

Curtain rises once again, but

I’ve forgotten all my lines. (p. 100)

1.  He called her as he walked down the

Street, searching passing faces

Looking for her eyes, all the

While trembling inside, trembling

That it might already be too

Late.  She might have taken

Her heart to another place. (p. 121)

While my life hasn’t taken me to the same places as that of the characters, I find myself in these words.  Walter Dean Myers never disappoints.  Check out some of his other works, especial Dope Sick and Monster.  I look forward to reading more from him!

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