The Diary of Latoya Hunter

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Through the year, the following things happened to twelve-year-old Latoya Hunter: She thrived at school; her urge for independence grew, and she had continual conflicts with her mother about it; she experienced the joy and pangs of her first love; she was terrifyingly propositioned on the street near her apartment; she witnessed the shooting of a neighbor; her unmarried sister gave birth to a boy; she visited her birthplace, Jamaica, during a vacation that left her frustrated and unhappy. She became a year older....
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1992 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Inventory mark on the edge. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 131 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Through the year, the following things happened to twelve-year-old Latoya Hunter: She thrived at school; her urge for independence grew, and she had continual conflicts with her mother about it; she experienced the joy and pangs of her first love; she was terrifyingly propositioned on the street near her apartment; she witnessed the shooting of a neighbor; her unmarried sister gave birth to a boy; she visited her birthplace, Jamaica, during a vacation that left her frustrated and unhappy. She became a year older. Here are Latoya's innermost thoughts, recorded in her diary as the events happened. As she experiences her first year at JHS 80 in the Bronx, these are described in the simple but luminous prose of an intelligent, sensitive, shy, and deeply feeling young girl. Her story is, of course, typical of girls like her, and it is also unique. It is affirmative, inspiring, moving, human, real.

Presents the diary of twelve-year-old Latoya Hunter as she goes through her first year of junior high school in the Bronx.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While attending P.S. 94 in the Bronx, Hunter was praised by a teacher for her ``incredible writing talent,'' a comment that found its way into a New York Times profile of the elementary school. This led Crown editor Richard Marek to ask Hunter to keep a diary describing her first year in junior high. Unfortunately, the Jamaican-born 12-year-old's entries lack a distinctive voice and syntax, possibly as a result of overzealous editing, although an editor's note states that ``every word in this diary is Latoya's.'' Teenagers may enjoy reading about Hunter's struggles to adapt to parental edicts, a new school, romance and other adolescent problems, but adults will find little of interest in this short journal. Hunter is most interesting and moving when she describes her painful efforts to come to grips with the urban violence around her. ( Sept. )
The ALAN Review - Richard F. Abrahamson
Her sixth-grade teacher praised Latoya Hunter's writing ability. An editor read the teacher's comments, and Latoya Hunter had a book contract. Latoya's diary chronicles her seventh-grade year at JHS 80 in the Bronx. She recounts the pleasures and strengths that come from being a part of an extended family, the joys of becoming an aunt, and the ups and downs of first love. Along with the emotional peaks and valleys that come with adolescence, Latoya details the grim realities of urban life in the 90s. In describing her Bronx world of dirty streets and graffiti, she writes, "The only colors I see are brown and grey-dull colors." She is propositioned by a middle-aged man holding up money as a lure. Her sleep is broken by the sounds of gun shots and the horror of finding that her neighbor has just been killed. Teen readers will recognize themselves in Latoya's words. They'll also recognize a world not just found in the Bronx.
Ilene Cooper
Diaries always make for interesting reading, and this chronicle of a seventh-grade year is no exception. Twelve-year-old Latoya Hunter attends J.H.S. 80 in the Bronx, where she's one of the bright kids, eager to get on to college and into the world. Despite her dreams, Hunter is firmly rooted in the everyday, and for an almost-teenager that means boys, friends, and family. Though her first, tentative reaching out to boys is central, it is mostly family that makes up Hunter's world: her unmarried sister and the sister's new baby, her brothers and their girlfriends, even the extended family in Jamaica whom Latoya goes to visit. The relationship that comes into focus most clearly, however, is the one with her mother. In Latoya's portrait, Mrs. Hunter worries excessively about grades and keeping her daughter safe--little wonder in a neighborhood where grocery store owners get shot and schoolmates are taken to jail for fighting with each other. Throughout, the short entries brim with life. And as in Anne Frank's diary, it is the commonplace that takes precedence, despite the horrors; readers will appreciate Hunter's ability to juxtapose the two, just as so many young people must do. She writes in one entry how she worries that she may be killed in a drive-by shooting. Two days later, her preoccupation is with her good day in gym: "We played soccer, and my team won 8 to 2. We are good!"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517585115
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/8/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 131

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