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4.9 44
by Allison van Diepen

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Lines are clearly marked at South Bay High School. It’s mixed territory for the Crips and the Bloods, which means the drama never stops.

Julia DiVino wants none of it. No colors, no C-Walks— it’s just not her thing.

But when Eric Valienté jumps into her life, everything changes. Lines are redrawn. And then they’re crossed.


Lines are clearly marked at South Bay High School. It’s mixed territory for the Crips and the Bloods, which means the drama never stops.

Julia DiVino wants none of it. No colors, no C-Walks— it’s just not her thing.

But when Eric Valienté jumps into her life, everything changes. Lines are redrawn. And then they’re crossed.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 14 up.

Julia Divino lies awake most nights afraid of what the sirens she hears might mean. She and her best friend "Q" are determined to keep their middle school oath not to join any of the gangs that rule their school and the surrounding neighborhoods. It is not an easy oath, considering their friend Marie has joined a Bloods affiliate, and Julia's best guy friend Chuck is a member of the Flatbush Junction Crips. However, when Eric Valienté transfers to their school and begins dating Julia, his decision to join Chuck's gang sets the group on a downward spiral. Julia dumps Eric for joining against her wishes and lying, but when Marie takes Julia aside one night and tells her that Marie's crew is planning to jump Eric, Julia feels obligated to warn him. Eric's escape and a threatening midnight text?? are only the beginning of the troubles. Marie's gang sees Julia as a snitch and beat her severely. Eric and Chuck convince their gang to retaliate, and the lines are drawn. Julia understands the Crips' protection will not last long and once Marie threatens Julia's other friends, it is clear she must join or die. Eric and Julia slowly become involved in increasingly high-profile activities, culminating in the arrest of Eric, Chuck's brother, and several gang Lieutenants on a drug charge. When Eric is released before the others even have their bail hearings, it is apparent he has double-crossed everyone and Julia is back in danger. She agrees to meet him to learn the truth but is accidentally stabbed in a fight when two Crips ambush them. The novel avoids any after-school stereotypes, though the language and plot--including violence, sexual situations, and marijuanause--may be too realistic for less mature readers. Reviewer: Jennifer Wood

Julia DiVino thinks she has a handle on everything. She is an A-student who maneuvers through gang-ridden halls and streets as neither a member nor a hater. Although frustrated by the unavoidable presence of gangs, she has no desire to leave her home-until she makes a choice that turns her life completely upside down and propels her into the middle of a world of violence and devastating loyalties. Julia faces the challenge of figuring out where she belongs when the boundaries suddenly change and her friends are no longer friends. Her resolve never to join a gang is tested when she is alone and vulnerable and the boy she loves is on the other side. As in her debut novel, Street Pharm (Simon Pulse/S & S, 2006/VOYA February 2007), van Diepen creates a gritty tale that reveals the uneasy life of a teenager in inner-city Brooklyn. Slang, street talk, and contemporary hip-hop references flow naturally out of the characters' mouths, giving their voices-and the novel-an authentic tone. The book is easy to read, full of atmosphere and action, with a swift plot and a ferocity that will draw in reluctant readers. Despite the constant tension between rival gangs, interactions among characters are not all violent melodrama and angst. Humor and levity among friends and genuine family moments keep the story grounded and add to its appeal. Although the resolution seems unrealistically uncomplicated and optimistic, teens will appreciate the message that one can break free and start over. Reviewer: Cheryl French
Jennifer Lee
"Snitches get stitches" is a popular phrase on the streets and one that Julia is familiar with in her gang-infested Brooklyn high school. Julia is a top student, has a close circle of friends, and has avoided all of the gang drama that's been going on around her for years, so why would she be interested in joining the Crips? In this fast-paced book, van Diepen explores the gang culture that plagues many of our inner-city schools and the reasons so many teens find themselves attracted to the gang lifestyle. If you liked Street Pharm, you won't want to miss this one. Reviewer: Jennifer Lee
AGERANGE: Ages 15 to 18.

Julia DiVino lives in a rough part of Brooklyn and attends a school ruled by gangs. Most of her friends are affiliated with a gang, but Julia chooses to keep out of gang life. She just wants to finish high school and get out of her neighborhood for good. Julia is careful never to say anything bad about a gang or its members, knowing it’s safest for her to stay neutral and keep her opinions to herself. She meets Eric, a new boy in school, who is funny and thoughtful and shares Julia’s interest in writing. When Eric joins the Crips, Julia is devastated. She was so certain that Eric was different from the boys she knew, but now he’s just a gangbanger like the rest of them. Eric tries his best to explain his reasons for joining. Julia tries to understand where he’s coming from and what the gang means to him, but she just can’t. When she tips Eric off that he’s going to be jumped by a bunch of Bloods, Julia earns the label “snitch.” Suddenly, she is a wanted woman. She is jumped at school by a gang seeking vengeance, and before she knows it, she is caught up right in the middle of the lifestyle she has spent her whole life avoiding. As she is taken under the wing of the Crips for protection, Julia begins to understand what Eric meant about the gang being a family. Julia’s life spirals out of control as she makes some startling choices. As a gang member, Julia learns about both loyalty and lies, and discovers she isn’t the only snitch in Brooklyn. The violence, street slang, and gritty urban setting that may put off some readers are exactly what will draw many others in. Van Diepen makes readers quickly understand that there is so much more to gang life than what itlooks like on the surface. She explores the reasons why teenagers join gangs, the logic behind their violent actions, and the structures at work in every gang. Though initially it seems difficult to understand how someone like Julia could get caught up in this scene, by the end of the book it is clear that anyone could be in Julia’s shoes. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

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Simon Pulse
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Read an Excerpt


  • People always make it sound like God is a man. But we’ve got no proof of that.”

    Everybody gasped. Then a few snickers and giggles.

    I felt myself blush, but I hurried on. “The whole idea of God looking like a man is a European concept. Back in Ancient Greece—”

    “You saying God is a girl?” Eddie Evans shouted. “So God’s got titties and a—”

    The class erupted in laughter.

    I kicked my volume up. “No, that’s not what I’m saying. God is not male or female.”

    “So God is a transvestite?” Jay shouted from the back row.

    “Not a transvestite, dumbass, a hermaphrodite,” Cassie said. “That’s when you got a package and a coochie.”

    Ms. Howard’s face reddened. I didn’t know if she was going to pass out or go postal. She yelled at everyone to settle down, but no one paid attention. She turned on me. “Just hand in your paper and sit down. We’ve heard enough.”

    “You’re not gonna let me present it? I spent a lot of time on this.”

    “Too bad you didn’t choose a more appropriate topic.”

    “But this was one of the choices you gave us! It was topic seven—explore how different cultures—”

    “Sit down,” she snapped.

    Knowing when to shut up wasn’t usually a problem for me, but I heard myself saying, “This isn’t fair. You’re the one who assigned the topic.”

    The class went, “Oooooohhhh.”

    “Go to the dean, Julia.”

    The class was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. As everybody watched, I picked up my books and stalked out. You really should have seen her face. She didn’t think that A-student Julia DiVino would dare stand up to her.

    My legs felt like jelly, probably more from the stress of the situation than anything else. Dad was going to kick my ass if he had to take off work to go to a suspension hearing. Or would he be proud that I stuck to my guns? I doubted it.

    I surprised myself by heading toward the bathroom on my way to the dean’s office. I guess I needed a few minutes to let the redness in my cheeks go down.

    Everybody knew Diana the bathroom lady. She was in her forties, with bleached-blond hair and heavy-metal tattoos. Her job was to spend her entire day outside the girls’ bathroom, making sure nothing nasty was happening—no drugs, no fights . . . no suicides.

    “Hey there, baby.” Diana reached out to receive my bathroom pass, but I shook my head.

    “I don’t have one.”

    “Why not?”

    “I’ve been sent to the dean’s office by Ms. Howard, but I want a minute to . . .”

    “Go ahead, sweetie.”

    Our bathrooms were like a mini Brooklyn housing project, littered with trash and covered in graffiti. The graffiti was mostly gang stuff: RLB rock da house, Hermanas Mexicalis is bad bitches, Crab girls got crabs. The worst culprits were the school’s biggest girl gang, the RLB, aka the Real Live Bitches. I’d spent lots of toilet-sittings deciphering their codes. All you needed to know was a little pig Latin and a little Creole and you could crack pretty much any code.

    I splashed cold water on my face and let it spike my lashes and dribble into my eyes. The shock of the water made me feel a bit better. I patted my face dry with scraping brown paper towels, careful not to smear my (thankfully waterproof) mascara. Running my fingers through my hair, I headed out to face the dean, thanking Diana as I left.

    “Holla back!”

    I jumped when I heard the voice behind me. Turned out it was Black Chuck. “Chuck, what up?”

    “I told you, don’t call me Chuck. I’m going by Black now.”

    “What kind of a name is Black?”

    “My kind of name, Ju.”

    I rolled my eyes. “I told you not to call me that. Everybody’s going to think I’m Jewish.”

    “So? Nothing wrong with that, is there?”

    “ ’Course not, but—”

    “No butts. Only asses. So where we going, Ju? Don’t tell me you cutting. Not Miss DiVino. You got a sub in Howard’s class?”

    “Actually, she sent me to see the dean.”

    “Yeah, right.”

    “I’m serious. It’s because I said in my speech that God wasn’t a man and didn’t have a package. She got upset.”

    Black Chuck burst out laughing. “I got you. Well, if they gonna suspend your ass, I’ll walk you down there.”

    “You’re so sweet.”

    He dropped me off outside the office. As he walked away, I shouted over my shoulder, “Your pants are falling down.”

    He shouted back, “Damn right they are!”

    The dean’s office was a large space with about a dozen orange plastic chairs and several connecting rooms. It used to be guidance central, but the admin switched the offices when they realized that more students needed suspensions than programming advice.

    I’d always felt sorry for the poor suckers who got sent here. Today I was one of them, along with a hot Hispanic guy who sat outside Dean Hallett’s door.

    The guy lifted his eyes, meeting mine. I looked away quickly, sitting down two seats away from him. I felt him giving me a once-over before looking back down at his iPod.

    Just my luck, Hallett was on duty today. She was the strictest of the deans. I took a deep breath, wondering what she’d do to me.

    The guy didn’t seem worried. He was nodding his head to his music.

    “Is it too loud?” he asked, removing one of his earbuds.

    “No, it’s fine,” I said without looking at him.

    I was hoping he’d put the earbud back in and go back to minding his business, but he kept looking at me. “So, you in trouble or something?”

    “Well, I am in the dean’s office.”

    “That doesn’t mean anything. I’m just here to get my ID card.” I glanced at him. His smile was smooth, easy.

    “Not me, unfortunately.”

    “I feel you. I’ve been at the dean’s office myself a few times at my old school.”

    Okay, so I had to ask. “What school’s that?”

    “You wouldn’t know it unless you know Detroit.”

    “Detroit, huh? I hear that place is gangsta. Guess you won’t have trouble getting used to Brooklyn.”

    “No trouble at all.”

    “How’d you end up in Brooklyn?”

    But he couldn’t answer, because that’s when Hallett’s door opened. She was a heavyset woman with the shrewd eyes of a criminal prosecutor.

    “Hi, Eric. Come on in.” Her eyes landed on me. “Was there something I could help you with, Julia?”

    “Uh, well . . . Ms. Howard wanted me to speak to you.”

    “All right. I’ll see you in a few minutes.” She let Eric into her office and closed the door.

    I sighed. Wait until she found out why I was there.

  • Meet the Author

    Allison van Diepen is the author of Street Pharm, Snitch, Raven, and Takedown. She teaches at an alternative high school in Ottawa, Canada. Visit her at AllisonvanDiepen.com.

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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    Snitch 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Snitch by Allison van Diepen was a page turner, a book you couldn¿t put down. It about Julia DiVino, a 16 year old girl who wants nothing to do with the gang banging or drama. But when Eric Valienté, a new Hispanic student at South Bay High comes into her life, everything changes, from her friends and family, to what she wears around school. This book affected me because it was so suspenseful and it was a real page turner. Also it caught my attention because it¿s not like other books you would read because it is a lot like real life and it make you feel like you are one of the characters yourself. I think this book would make an excellent movie. If you like the type of books that have gangs, drama, action, suspense, and a little love to top it off, this would be the book for you. Also another great book would be Street Pharm also by Allison van Diepen. As you read Snitch book, my advice would be don¿t stop reading because it will keep you thinking.
    I of course gave this book 5 of 5 stars!
    qeoo-_ More than 1 year ago
    Can't put this book down , its so interesting. I want to know what happens next whenever i attempt to put the book down.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is a major page turner . I love this book so much , as soon as you pick up the book , you will not be able to put it down .  I love how it tells you both the good and bad that can come out of being in a gang , and it tells how when you think that you are in love with someone at any point in time , you must know them and not trust blindly . I cannot stop reading this book . Allison Van Diepen has outdone herself this time . 
    BluemilkChopsticks More than 1 year ago
    Aliison Van Diepen kept me hooked on this book and when i showed it to my friend they loved it too. this book is the best raven is good street phram is awesome but this one is the best READ IT!! THE BEST!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was amazing and totally worth the money! If you like Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry series you will love this book! It shows what its like being surrounded by gangs and the consequenses of being in one. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about romance, gangs, and teen drama this book is perfect. It was a great book and if anyone says its bad they have lied to you. I completely loved it and am going to read it again for the second time in a row! Buy this book NOW!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was amazing! Totally different then any more book I've read before. Theres drama,action,romance and suspense. I love this book so much and its probably my favorite book ever. i recommend it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    BEST BOOK IVE EVER READ! finished it in one day. I couldn't put it down! I recommended it to all my friends! And they never read but they were hooked too! 
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a great book. I loved it and i couldnt put it down. I reccomend this book to anyon who is trying to find their way out the gang and find love.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I'll pay what you wish if you spy on Lily at Oliver Twist. Get close with her, and make her trust you, then figure out three things: one, if she is part of SHEILD, two, how she got the scar on the base of her throat, and three, if she likes Malcom. Thanks.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I guess not.
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Such an amazing book if youre a teen and not really into reading this is one book that will get back into it. I loved this book i couldnt put it down every chance i got i was reading. Cant wait to start on the other books!
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The book was amazing. I Read it in my english class freshmen year and loved it so much that i bought it and read it again. The main character Julia goes through the drama of having a gang filled school. It's a wonderful book and i have requested it to many.
    Millersville_U_Queen11 More than 1 year ago
    I usually don't read these kinds of books but I loved Snitch! It's like a current Romeo and Juliet!
    bdenglish10review More than 1 year ago
    This book kept me on the edge. Its about a girl who falls in love with a guy who is new to her school he almost instantly became friends with the brother of the crip leader and gets himself jumped in. By then Eric(the new kid) and Julia (the girl) are dating and when Julia finds out that he got jumped into the gang she gets pissed. So she breaks up with him, then she goes to single night at a club were Eric is at. Julia hears that Eric is going to get jumped by another gang so Julia tells Eric. Julia saved Erics life because he called his crip brothas. So when the other gang came after him there was an ambush waiting for them. Then julias friend who told her about Eric getting jumped got pissed and had the gang shes in jump Julia in the locker room. Julia finally gives Eric a chance to talk to her and he wins back her heart. A little bit later Julia gets "jumped" into the gang which basically means she has to sleep with one of the gang members so her and Eric go upstairs and she crys so they dont do anything together but she fooled the gang and she got in. in the end she finds out some interesting stuff about what eric told her and she blackmailed the crips and she gets out of the gang because one of the members jumped Eric but stabed Julia in the abdomen. This was a work of art it was one of the most amazing books i have ever read. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Jazzy_Fizzle More than 1 year ago
    Could not put it down had mant twist and turns
    mutekid016 More than 1 year ago
    Ever wondered what goes in a school ruled by gangs and violence? Well you should read Snitch. This book is about how lifes are affected by drugs and gangs. Snitch opens a new perspective on violence among teens.