Gr 8 Up-In allowing the words of teens from across the nation to shine through, without polishing or pushing, Franco has succeeded in compiling one of the brightest collections out there today. In a mixture of prose and poetry, the young women express their fears, dreams, relationships, and angst. There are some poetic turns of phrases here ("we put on our chatter/like red lipstick/with the same amount/of greasy enthusiasm") and some strong language. And while the poems are triumphant in their realism, the book is elevated by the inclusion of gritty, unposed black-and-white photographs. These pictures, not taken to illustrate the poems, do so in an exemplary fashion. Like snapshots from personal photo albums, the images of a multicultural array of "everygirls" are harmonious complements to this outstanding collection. A fine companion to You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys (Candlewick, 2000).-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
These 45 pieces, most poetry but some prose, come from the hands and minds of girls across the country. They're paired with black-and-white photos that, while not posed to match the poems, often resonate quite effectively. Sixteen-year-old Theresa Hassfeld's "Escape" faces a picture of a girl with her hair floating behind her in a bathtub, like the drowned Ophelia; other images focus on body partssneaker-clad feet, breasts, hands. With the self-consciousness comes a brimming self-awareness: 15-year-old Idit Meltzer Agam's incantation of "feminine" words; Jessie Childress in "New Honesty," writing, "Like a plastic ball, / I toss between myself / and the various identities / I have been assigned." Melissa Parker writes, with rue and pain, "I broke my own heart so many times," in "Born at 15." There is the occasional flash of amusement15-year-old Danya Goodman writes in "Hallway between Lunch and English," "we march together toward / the war we cannot name / but at least we are dressed for it." Sure to find its audience and to inspire other girlsand boysto write it down. (Poetry. 12 )