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Money Hungry

Money Hungry

4.6 92
by Sharon Flake

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Thirteen-year-old Raspberry Hill is starved for money. She will do just about anything legal to get her hands on the almighty dollar--wash cars, sell rotten candy, skip lunch, clean houses. She is obsessed. She is driven. She is afraid. Memories of being homeless, sleeping in the streets, and eating handouts keep Raspberry's eye on the only prize that matters to her:


Thirteen-year-old Raspberry Hill is starved for money. She will do just about anything legal to get her hands on the almighty dollar--wash cars, sell rotten candy, skip lunch, clean houses. She is obsessed. She is driven. She is afraid. Memories of being homeless, sleeping in the streets, and eating handouts keep Raspberry's eye on the only prize that matters to her: cold, hard cash. A haunting story of greed and forgiveness by the award-winning author of The Skin I'm In.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"With her brassy voice and saucy attitude, 13-year-old Raspberry Hill emerges as a vivacious heroine," said PW. "The author candidly expresses the difficulty in breaking the cycle of poverty and leaves it up to readers to judge Raspberry's acts." Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Raspberry Hill knows what it is like to be on the streets, to sleep in an abandoned car and to bathe in a public washroom. Now living in the projects with her mother, the thirteen-year-old has vowed never to live like that again. Raspberry is obsessed with money—earning it and keeping it—and never seems to have enough of it. Money is her life. She loves the feel of it, the smell of it. It motivates all that she does. Whether it is selling pencils or involving her friends in cleaning a filthy nursing home, Raspberry is always scheming for a way to make a buck. Against her better judgment she digs into her $600 nest egg to loan $200 to her friend Ja'nai and frets continually over its return. The loan that deepens the rift between Raspberry and her mother, who fears that greed is destroying her child. In a fit of rage, Raspberry's mother throws her money out of the window after being mistakenly told that the money is stolen. This act becomes the catalyst for Raspberry to examine the hold that money has over her and her own depth of forgiveness. Tough and tender, with moments of humor, this is a riveting story. The streetwise Raspberry and the mean streets she inhabits are vividly portrayed in the vernacular of the streets, and hers is a story that is hard to put down. Urban kids will nod their heads in agreement with Raspberry, and suburban kids will come away with a new understanding and respect. 2001, Hyperion, $16.99 and $15.99. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
Thirteen-year-old Raspberry Hill is obsessed with money. She comes up with all kinds of schemes to make it and hoards her stash in her bedroom. Simple greed is not what motivates her. Raspberry and her mother have been homeless, and Raspberry is convinced that the only way to keep that from happening again is to have money. Her schemes get her in trouble at school and put her at odds with her friends, each of whom has problems of her own. When Raspberry's mother finds the money, she thinks that it is stolen and throws it out the window. When their apartment in the projects is robbed, they indeed end up on the streets again, although a hopeful ending suggests that they will not be there for long. Where Flake excels is in her depiction of these people and their lives. Most of the many characters spring to life—Raspberry, her mother, and in particular, Raspberry's friends, Zora, Mia, and Ja'nae. The plot, however, is less successful. Raspberry really does not grow or change, and the ending is abrupt and almost too good to be true. As a slice-of-life story and in the depiction of relationships, this book is vivid, compelling, and disturbing. Teen readers either will see themselves in it or have their eyes opened. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Hyperion/Disney, 187p, $15.99. Ages 11 to 15. Reviewer: Alice F. Stern SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Raspberry Hill, 13, loves money. She sells clearance holiday candy and pencils, and keeps her lunch money rather than eat. She hoards every dime she can gather and hides her cash in her room. Greed drives her and is more important than friends, boys, or her mother's love. Ever since her father got involved with drugs and she and her mother lived on the streets for a while, cash makes her feel safe. She and her mother now have a place of their own, but life in the projects is hardly ideal. Everybody has problems: Mai Kim, with her mixed heritage; Ja'nae, whose mother deserted her; the bothersome neighbors, Check and Shoe, who help drug dealers in order to eat. When Raspberry's mother finds her stash, she thinks it's stolen, and throws it out the window. Everything else-furniture, dishes, and clothes-is stolen from their apartment and the teen and her mother are on the street again. Raspberry then has to face the questions in her life and work with her mother toward possible solutions. Flake does a stunning job of intertwining Raspberry's story with daily urban scenes, and she writes smoothly and knowingly of teen problems, discussions, and reactions. Focused storytelling, clear writing, and a compelling voice are the highlights of this short novel.-Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Flake (The Skin I'm In, 1998) gives a rock-solid portrayal of an inner-city life where money colors everything. At 13, Raspberry avidly collects opportunities to make a little green wherever she can find them. Readers see her obsession driving her to peddle rotten chocolate and spare pencils long before they learn of her history of living on the street or the tenuousness of her home security that makes her greed understandable. Her friends both express disgust at her avidity and want in on the spoils. Raspberry's mom and girlfriends Janae, Mai, and Zora along with the guys that swirl around them leap to life as Raspberry doggedly pursues her desire to stash enough money away for some kind of safety. But there is never enough, and earnings are hard to hang onto. The energetic interaction of the projects' neighborhood, lively language, the realistic school scenes and Raspberry's moneymaking schemes, along with the inevitable convoluted ethical dilemmas keep the pace brisk. Suddenly, Mom erupts when she thinks Raspberry's begun to steal, and she tosses money out the window in an effort to wake her up. The result is that their home is burglarized. Realizing they'll never be safe there again, the two hit the streets in a move that devastates Raspberry. There's a satisfying fairy-tale ending, but Flake successfully conveys a situation where life is precarious. Kids who live like Raspberry will find validation in seeing themselves sympathetically portrayed, and more pampered readers will find their eyes opened wide. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Disney Press
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557 KB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Sharon G. Flake won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award for her first novel The Skin I'm In and is a two-time Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book winner. Beloved by children and adults, critics and booksellers, librarians and teachers, she is the author of a middle-grade novel and five books for young adults that have sold more than half a million copies. The mother of a college-age daughter, Flake writes full-time from her home in Pittsburgh.

To learn more about Ms. Flake, please visit her at

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