Begging for Change

Begging for Change

4.6 58
by Sharon Flake

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Is there greed in Raspberry Hill's genes?

In this sequel to Coretta Scott King Honor Book MONEY HUNGRY, once-homeless Raspberry Hill vows never to end up on the streets again. It's been a year since Raspberry's mother threw her hard-earned money out the window like trash, so to Raspberry money equals security and balance. And she's determined to do anything to

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Is there greed in Raspberry Hill's genes?

In this sequel to Coretta Scott King Honor Book MONEY HUNGRY, once-homeless Raspberry Hill vows never to end up on the streets again. It's been a year since Raspberry's mother threw her hard-earned money out the window like trash, so to Raspberry money equals security and balance. And she's determined to do anything to achieve it.

But when a troubled neighborhood teenager attacks her mother and Raspberry's drug-addicted father returns, Raspberry becomes desperate for her life to change and ends up doing the unthinkable, potentially ruining her friendships and losing her self-respect along the way. Will Raspberry accept that nothing good comes of bad money? Or is she destined to follow in her father's footsteps?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An impoverished teen obsessed with getting money whatever way she can, to build a nest egg for her and her mother, gets herself into trouble. "Touching upon issues of prejudice, street violence, homelessness and identity crises, this poignant novel sustains a delicate balance between gritty reality and dream fulfillment," said PW. Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This sequel to Money Hungry opens with Raspberry Hill's mother in the hospital after her neighbor hit her over the head with a pipe. For Raspberry, whose father is a homeless junkie and whose mother works hard to keep their apartment, this is the last straw. Why does she have so much trouble while her friend Zora, whose father is a doctor, has it so easy? When Zora and her father take Raspberry home from the hospital that night, Raspberry steals money from Zora's purse to try to even the score. But does this make her too much like her father for comfort? Raspberry's story sometimes takes a back seat to the often more interesting subplot of her friend Mai, who is biracial but gets so sick of the constant questions that she decides to be, as the new tattoo on her arm says, "100% Black," causing all sorts of trouble with her family. By the end of the book, the characters have all begun to reconcile and find happiness in unsurprising but honest and believable ways. The book is written the way Raspberry and her friends speak, in a slangy street style with little subtlety but great rhythm. It's a fast read and will appeal to teenagers looking for "problem" books. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Hyperion, 248p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Samantha Musher
Children's Literature
Raspberry lives in the inner city. Her mother is in the hospital because Shiketa, a young juvenile delinquent, hit her in the head with a metal pipe. Add to that the fact that Raspberry's father is a drug addict and you have the makings of a touching story. One strand of the story concerns Raspberry's obsession with money, which for her means security. After she steals money from her best friend, she cannot admit what she has done because, deep down, she is desperately afraid that her theft means she will end up like her father. Eventually, she confronts her fear, develops her courage, and owns up to the theft. Another strand of the story focuses on her mother's struggle to forgive Shiketa and to try to rebuild her life. Flake's writing is masterful and engaging, and Raspberry's growth as a person provides a wonderful role model for teenagers. 2003, Hyperion Books,
— Kathy Egner
Fans of the Coretta Scott King honor book Money Hungry (Hyperion, 2001/VOYA February 2002) will enjoy this sequel, and those who have not read it will need no background. Now living in a rough neighborhood with her mother, yet off the streets and out of the projects, Raspberry continues to be intrigued by money. She goes door-to-door asking to do jobs such as sweeping sidewalks to make money. She still does not see the harm, however, in stealing from those who have more than she and more than they need, including a woman down the street who has a candy dish full of quarters and a friend whose father is a doctor who is also dating Raspberry's mother. Raspberry's own father steals from her, and although she loses trust in him, it takes her a while to realize that she has done the same to others. Because the plot focuses on money and stealing, readers might grow tired of the constant moralizing and might find themselves often annoyed with, rather than sympathetic toward, Raspberry. The young characters behave their age, and middle-school readers will relate to their feelings about boys and their looks, especially their skin color. Teachers can use the lessons to stress the values of honesty, hard work, and friendship. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Hyperion, 235p,
— Jennifer Bromann
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This sequel to Money Hungry (Hyperion, 2001) offers a compelling slice of urban life for a contemporary African-American teen. When Raspberry Hill's mother is hit in the head with a metal pipe and hospitalized, the 14-year-old steals money from her wealthy best friend's purse. She does odd jobs to earn additional money, only to have it stolen by her homeless, drug-addicted father more than once. Readers come to know Raspberry, her friends, and the people around her. While some are dangerous, a sense of community caring comes through, and she finds help among supportive adults. She is a survivor with a good heart, although she questions herself along the way, always worrying that she will end up like her father. With good friends and a truly loving mother to help her through, it's clear that Raspberry will make it, even if she gets a little bruised in the process. A story with an inspiring but not preachy message.-Sunny Shore, Chestnut Ridge Middle School, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This sequel to Money Hungry (2001) stands on its own, as the tale of a young teenage girl struggling to do right by people in hard times. Raspberry Hill and her mother have a new home in a tough neighborhood. Her mother is hospitalized when a neighbor, on whom she's called the cops one too many times, takes revenge. Raspberry is still fixated on hoarding cash (her security blanket), which gets her into big difficulties when she takes some from her best friend's purse. Her friends from Money Hungry are back, and their old issues (being of mixed race, having absent parents) resurface. So does Raspberry's dad-a homeless drug addict, who loves his daughter on the one hand and betrays her on the other. Direct, conversational narrative and dialogue, and the representative urban setting make this a work that many different types will be able to enjoy on various levels. (Fiction 11-15)

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Product Details

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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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