PULL is the winner of the 2010 National Readers Choice Award for Young Adult fiction presented by the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America.
PULL was named to the 2012 YALSA Quick Picks For Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and School Library Journal's 2011 Best Books For Youth in Detention lists.
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)|
|Age Range:||15 - 17 Years|
About the Author
She finds writing an exercise in self-discipline, and the perfect follow-up to her life as the eldest of five children, an adoptive parent, and a cancer survivor. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Chicago Writers Association, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association). In 2009 her work won the Oklahoma Romance Writers Finally a Bride Contest and the Rose City Golden Rose Contest. In 2010 she was a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart® contest. Her favorite quote is from Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Easy reading is damned hard writing." Her website is babinns.com. She is the YA "genre-ista" on the Romancing the Genres group blog at romancingthegenres.blogspot.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
(In the Booksquawk spirit of full disclosure, this novel was provided to me as a free uncorrected advance proof, however, other than belonging to the same chapter of Romance Writers of America with its author, I do not know B.A. Binns.)On the face of it, the title of Binns¿ debut young adult novel, `Pull,¿ seems ambiguous. It wasn¿t until I was immersed in the main character¿s story that I decided the title refers to the multiple directions a person on the cusp of adulthood can be pulled in life. Pull is told in first-person point of view by seventeen-year-old David Albacore¿except that¿s not his real name. David wants nothing to do with his real surname, because it links him to his father¿the convicted murderer of his beloved mother. He and his sisters are in foster care, living in inner-city Chicago with his aunt, and he¿s managed to register himself in school under an assumed name. New city, new school, new (understandably bad) attitude about life. David just wants to fly under the radar for the rest of the year¿something kind of hard to do when you¿re six-foot-seven inches tall and refusing to join the basketball team.Right away David feels the irresistible pull of Yolanda Dare, a girl with ¿a double dose of that thing girls have that makes a guy¿s legs shake and teeth clench until we¿re praying for relief.¿ Too bad Yolanda belongs to Malik, the reigning self-inflated, bullying king of the school. David also feels the pull of protectiveness for his younger sisters. Barnetta, or Barney, is a freshman desperate to hang with the cool crowd. Since they have different last names, she convinces David to pretend to be her boyfriend, which gives her instant status and gives him peace of mind that she won¿t be targeted by any of the boys in her orbit.The characters meander down a familiar road of teenage indecision, fluctuating loyalty and confusion. David is caught up in his attraction to Yolanda, who is giving him mixed signals. Her motivation isn¿t clear at the outset, but Binns slowly lets the line on her true personality reel out. Malik is vicious and malicious; in stark contrast to the selfless girl David is coming to know. David¿s motivation for not wanting to play basketball is tied to his guilt in the part he believes he played in his mother¿s murder. The terrible circumstances leading to her loss colors every decision he makes. He¿s pulled, too, by the hopes and dreams she expressed for his future, which involve a college degree he¿s just not that into getting. David has a true talent for working with his hands and his mind in construction, but the culmination of all the external pressures on him means he can¿t envision anything but a life of sacrifice to protect his sisters from the system.On Binns¿ website, the subtitle is: `Stories of real boys growing into real men.¿ She accomplishes this through uncensored characterization; not glossing over the fact that teens are exposed to drugs, alcohol and sex, and they use strong, often offensive language to express themselves. In Pull, Binns depicts the struggles a teen goes through fighting peer pressure and hormonal urges¿and building strength of character and moral courage¿all without sounding like a preacher on a pulpit. I very much enjoyed this gritty, realistic coming-of-age tale.
Don¿t let either the non-informative title or the cover of this powerful book dissuade you from considering reading it. Both are misleading. The cute guy on the cover, on the other hand, is not totally unrelated, since the protagonist happens to be one.David Albacore is a seventeen-year-old high school senior at a new school, and his sister Barnetta (¿Barney¿) is a freshman. They transferred after their father murdered their mother. The father went to jail, and David and his sisters moved in with their Aunt Edie in Chicago. David didn¿t even want to go back to school, but he has vowed to take care of Barney, who is still emotionally scarred from finding her mother in a pool of blood.Barney is six feet tall, and worries she¿ll never find a boyfriend. When David asks Barney why she wants a boyfriend she says:"I just want to be normal, like everyone else. That¿s why I have to have someone. A girl has to have a man or she¿s nothing.¿David senses this is wrong, but doesn¿t know how to respond. He knows though that his mom put up with his dad¿s abuse for years because she believed she was nothing without him. He worries he can never be a substitute for the female companion Barney clearly needs, ¿someone who understands the things that go on inside a girl¿s head.¿On his first day at the new school, he falls hard for Yolanda Dare, who happens to be the girlfriend of Malek Kaplan, the popular head of the basketball team and a ¿gangsta clown¿ as David identifies him. Even worse, Barney falls for Malek. Yolanda is often bruised, and David suspects the rough and disrespectful Malek is the cause.David is 6¿7¿, fast, and strong, and was a basketball star at his previous school, but no longer has an interest in the game. The night his mother got killed, he was asleep from pain medication after showing off on the basketball court and breaking his arm. He blames basketball, and he blames himself.David works two jobs in addition to going to school to help support his family. When he finally does start playing ball again, he is told he can get a full scholarship to college, but that¿s not what he wants. The murder and his new responsibilities have changed his life. ¿Things that were once so all-important, like having a harem, winning the game, and being number one don¿t even count anymore.¿ He has a dream of being a construction worker. He loves ¿the idea of turning a hole in the ground into something real.¿ He loves Yolanda too, and he desperately wants to keep Barney away from Malek.Then his aunt has a stroke, and their family unit and all his dreams are in danger of vanishing. Discussion: This story brings up so many issues worth consideration.We can see the different messages conveyed to this young, coming-of-age boy affecting his understanding of the roles of men and women. He is influenced by what he picks up from his experience at home; his peers; and his own sense of what is right and wrong. His father told him that knocking around his mother was ¿being a man.¿ But David is conflicted; he loved his gentle and supportive mom, and knows that she made her whole family feel special and loved and didn't deserve to be physically abused. He remembers the fear and sadness he and his sisters felt from seeing the violence and displays of virility by their dad.The kids in school see relationships in terms of conquests and popularity. The recipe for success in David's school for a male include control over girls and over their sexuality, with physical and sexual abuse not an uncommon element of that control. In fact, the story illustrates the description of much of black male culture by sociologist Bell Hooks:Black males, Hooks maintains, ¿often find that the assertion of sexist domination is their only expressive access to the `patriarchal power¿ they are told all men should possess as their gendered birthright.¿ She notes that ¿those heterosexual black males that the culture de