YOU CAN!: KIDS EMPOWERING KIDS Written by Alexandra Strick Illustrated by Steve Antony (Candlewick…
I’ll Be There ($17.99, Little Brown Teens, ages 14 and up) by Holly Goldberg Sloan is reviewed by guest reviewer Dr. Juli Barry from Los Angeles. Dr. Barry has her PhD in 20th century American fiction.
When I saw that Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. had given Sloan’s debut novel a rave review I simply had to read this YA book (once I ascertained that there were no vampires or werewolves on a single page, that is). To my delight, I’ll Be There is an engrossing page turner from beginning to end!
Innocent love, wild adventure, character development that makes you believe in these people, and humorous quirks (such as one boy’s name of Riddle because his neglectful, felonius father just didn’t know what to make of him) – I’ll Be There has it all! Sloan’s ability to turn the “boy meets girl” theme into a complex family drama which includes both good parents and bad, unwavering loyalty to siblings as well as young love, and an amusing and fully developed cast of “extras” pushes this teen lit tale into Excellent Adventure Fiction.