Like Sisters on the Homefront

Like Sisters on the Homefront

4.8 21
by Rita Williams-Garcia

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When Gayle gets into trouble with her boyfriend, her mother sends the street-smart 14-year-old?and her baby, Jose?down to Georgia, to live with Uncle Luther and his family. There?s nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one around except kneesock-wearing, Jesus-praising cousin Cookie. Then Gayle meets Great, the family matriarch?and her stories of the past begin to


When Gayle gets into trouble with her boyfriend, her mother sends the street-smart 14-year-old?and her baby, Jose?down to Georgia, to live with Uncle Luther and his family. There?s nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one around except kneesock-wearing, Jesus-praising cousin Cookie. Then Gayle meets Great, the family matriarch?and her stories of the past begin to change how Gayle sees her future.?Williams-Garcia has surpassed herself.?She has set these fictional characters? firmly in the real world while still allowing them to rise from the pages and into readers? hearts and imaginations.? ?The Horn Book, starred review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A streetwise teenage mother goes to live with religious relatives in Georgia in this "unusually perceptive, streetwise novel," said PW in a starred review. "The emotions ring true, as does the portrait of contemporary black culture." Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
The ALAN Review - Kay Parks Bushman
When teen mother Gayle gets pregnant for the second time, as if it's no big deal, her mother marches her to the local clinic for an abortion and ships her and her baby Jose away to live with relatives down South. There she must learn to deal with her preacher uncle; her strict, value-laden aunt; and her cousin Cookie, whose life is filled with singing solos and youth group at church. Although Gayle is given the choice to stay home from school to care for Jose, she is also given many chores, among which is to care for her bed-ridden Great-Grandmother. Ironically, it is with Great that Gayle connects, is able to be herself, and learns the value of family. This is undoubtedly one of the best books that I have read, not only for its strong characters and themes, but also for its rich African-American voice which brings the characters to life.
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Unable to raise her headstrong 14-year old daughter in New York, Mama sends Gayle and her infant son on a one-way trip South, to the family home. The formidable minister-uncle and his prim and proper wife provide Gayle with a home, rules, responsibilities, and a new exposure to life, including their knee-sock wearing, 16-year old, Jesus-praising daughter "Cookie." As Gayle blends into this extended family, she is chosen by Great (her great-grandmother) to be the keeper of the family's oral history. The power of family and accurate portrayal of teenage girls are sure to make this one a hit with young adult readers.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
The main character, Gayle, lives in a New York urban area with her widowed mother and brother. The book opens as her mother drags pregnant Gayle and her seven-month-old baby to the Women's Clinic for an abortion. With less skillful handling, I would have shut the cover quickly, but Williams-Garcia's dialogue teems with humor, emotion, and directness. Her style turns street talk into literature. When Gayle protests her mothers action, "S'pose I want to keep it. It's mines." Her mother answers with a retort that is deadly serious but filled the richness of the African-American storytelling voice: "As long as you fourteen and in my house, you mines... What you think I'm running? Does my door say South Jamaica Welfare Hotel? No. Do you see Hoe House on my mailbox?" Williams-Garcia goes on to place Gayle in an alien world when she's sent "down Souf" to live with her proper aunt, minister uncle, and kneesock-wearing, Bible-toting cousin where she feels like a "house slave" in her ancestral home. Eventually, removed from the streets, she begins learning about the past, what family means, and how the street has robbed her of a slow sexual blossoming. None of this comes easily or gracefully, but that's part of the author's genius. Her character changes believable, because readers know Gayle to be a young woman of intelligence and sensitivity, even though she prefers to hide this with attitude.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This is a wonderful book about going home again, about the strength of family love, and about the power of friendship. Gayle is a black 14-year-old mother who, when she becomes pregnant again, is sent South to do some growing up among relatives she doesn't know and doesn't particularly like. Streetwise, sullen, disrespectful, and angry, she gradually comes under the spell of her wise and very old great-grandmother. Great is feisty, quarrelsome, soils herself, and never leaves her room, but with her dying words gives Gayle the gift of both the past and the future. Gayle comes to know her aunt and uncle, and especially her cousin, but she also discovers what her mother must have been like as a young woman. This knowledge allows her to better understand the importance of family and friendship. Beautifully written, the text captures the cadence and rhythm of New York street talk and the dilemma of being poor, black, and uneducated. This is a gritty, realistic, well-told story that will make an excellent addition to YA fiction collections.-Carol Jones Collins, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ
Hazel Rochman
At 14, Gayle is pregnant. Again. The first time she kept the baby. This time her mother drags Gayle to have an abortion and then sends her away from the projects in Jamaica, New York, on a one-way ticket to family in Georgia. For Gayle, it's like being "sold to slavery." She's never met her mother's family, and they don't particularly want her in their big mansion. Her uncle is a pastor; her sweet teenage cousin, Cookie, looks as if she's "straight out of Mommy-Made-Me magazine." Gayle shocks them with her street talk, her cussing, and her free and unrepentant talk of sex. She hates being in a house full of Holy Rollers "whose rap is praise the Lord." Only her great-grandmother, a soul mate, loves Gayle's spirit, laughs at her irreverence, and tells Gayle the family history of slavery, protest, and faith. Like Williams-Garcia's "Fast Talk on a Slow Track" (1991), this story isn't strong on plot. There are lots of loose ends, and the bonding between the two cousins is contrived. Although Gale finally finds her way home, this is far from a simplistic problem novel. The characters are drawn with depth and affection. The dialogue snaps and swings from raucous insult and jealous anger to painful lyricism. Gayle's voice has some of rap's outrageous self-parody. Best of all is the ironic collision of class and culture between the urban kid and her protected cousin. Gayle is both world-weary and abysmally ignorant, sophisticated and innocent, streetwise and nearly illiterate. She thinks she's tough, and she is, but her rudeness and her humor hide her heartbreak. Teens will welcome this funny, candid story about a world too long absent from YA fiction.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.36(w) x 7.11(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
10 - 17 Years

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Like Sisters on the Homefront 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
soxxexquisite More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very moving and touching. The life Gayle had was not easy by any means but she did what she had to. She grew to love her family when she wasn't expecting that at all. From the overall book I think she grown up alot by the end of the book. I couldn't put it down once I started and the ending was good as well. Everyone should read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it was a really good talks about abortions and things of that also talks about teen kids making kids and keepin them.the girl gayle is 14 with a baby boy and her mom sent her to stay with her uncle luther.i like it but it dont really have the information im looking for in a book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Last year in seventh grade, I picked up this book and I just couldn't lay it down. Everything about the book is solid and real. I like the true to life main character who tells it how she feels. This book is a favortie of mines and I reccomend it to anyone who likes a good book too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book like sisters on the homefront was one of the best books that I have ever read. I would truly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an Afriacn American story.This book only took me a day to read because it is so interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book it very good for teenager and Gayle relized what she did before and at the end of the story she change herself.Teenager please read this book you will learn alot for your future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Something the book is about is a pregnant girl who already has a baby and now she is having another one at the age of 14.Her mother starts to get tired of her and she sends them to her Uncle's house to stay and now Gayle sees the hard way life can be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first I was not going to read this book but when I started the first sentence I knew I would never be able to put it down. I know it by heart. 'The first time Gayle slammed the bathroom door, her mother let it go.' dosen't it make you want to keep on going
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I thought it was funny and kool. The character Gayle is a real fast talking girl who lives a fast live but i couldnt denie not liking her. She was not the usual goody 14 year old girls that you read on books. She was realistic as it comes. A slap in the face that says all things arent always picture perfect but you make best with what you got. The author in this book did an excellent job and i cant wait to read more of her stuff!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is outstanding! I read this book when I was 14 and was very shocked! I thought twice about having children! Wonderful book! I recommend this for teenagers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book sisters on the homefront is truly a good read it teaches all young girls who want to live the fast life and think that nothing can happen to them to think again because before you know it you can make a mistake that you will not be able to change.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great i loved it, i even gave it to my friend and now others wanna read it to. I justed loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like Sisters on the Homefront is full hilarious scenes but also at the same time twisting in good and bad morals and dicesions. All the action startes in the Bronx, New York where the main character, Gayle has a baby with her boyfriend Jose. Her mom said that she would let this go, but the next time, she wont be so easy. Gayle, being a little dumb, has another kid. Her mom has had enough and decides to take her to the Abortion Clinic. After Gayle has an abortion, she is sent down "souf" to live with her knee sock, jesus praising cousin, Cookie and the rest of her family. I think the book is hilarious and makes you think at times if you want that to happen to you. It is a good story about how a girl that had seen nothing outside of New York City, begins to open up her eyes to the big picture. She begins to turn Cookie into a HomeGirl and at the same time, have Gayle open up and see that it is not good to have a kid every six months. I wish there were a sequal, I think that would be a good addition to the book. I recomend this book to anyone who wants action, teen age humor and just a plain good time reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was reading this book for the second time and it disappeared. Two weeks later, everyone in my homeroom had read it. SO had one of the guys in the class' sister. It's sort of tattered now, but if it got that many people to read it, it has to be good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This an excellent book for young girls to read who are having sex and don't think that anything can happen to them. This a real life story that hits home and helps me understand that evryone has hurdles in life to jump. Willams-Garcia does a good job with bringing the aspects and beliefs of the Bible to this story. When Gayle is sent down south to her family she really learns a lesson that has chamged her outlook on life and helps her get on the right path. I would introduce this book to someone who thinks that their life is awful because this book helps to see that things could be worse, but also that good things come out of struggles if you will listen to our elders just as Gayle did. As much as she was angry with her Auntie,Uncle and cousin she became to love them in a way that has shown she has grown in life. Living with them she has learned from each of them that she has never learned before from her own family. They introduce her to the church and teaches how important manners are. Also, she has learned a differnt approach from her Great that has helped her deal with past issues. She has truly benefited from being forced to live with her Auntie, Uncle and cousin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I could relate to Gayle in the book with her teenage feeling and troubles. It was interesting to see how she progressed after she moved to her relatives house.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truly a treasure. The bonds that Gayle devolops with her family are very touching and true to the experiences of many teens. I love how Gayle slowly realizes the history and of her family and the importance it has on her own life. Mrs. Williams- Garcia did a wonderful job with this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I tell you that there is not another book like this one. This book is one of a kind. All young girls who are having sex should read this book. It opens the eyes of all girls I know it opened mine. Now I think twice about having sex. I know no girl would like to be kicked out of your home and having to move somewhere where the neighbors house is like a mile away. Where is your freedom. I would want to go some place that I can get my act together and praise the lord. So I want be going to hell. But the book was like so good this totaly one of a kind no one or nothing can match this. this book just reaches the soul of young girls every where. Makes you think twice about some of the choices you make in life I would like to thank Mrs. Rita Williams for wtitting such an awsome book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I relly enjoy this book it relly put's me in the eye's on some of these young children have'n baby's.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. I never wanted to put it down. I am now 14 and I read the book when I was 12 and still remember it. I think everyone should read it. It shows the struggle to be forced to grow up. When unexpected events happpen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thoght that this book was very inspiring and moving and inspiring...should remind us all that we can get a second chance and help others get theirs too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is and inspiring book, for all young teenagers from 13-18. It really is the best book for young adults as well. I think there should be a movie. I found this book, very very interesting and you should try it too.