Sharon Draper is definitely worth seeing in person. I’ve seen her twice now – once at a bookstore and once, more recently, at a library event designed for teens. She’s a commanding presence – funny, sharp, insightful, positive, inspiring.
Unfortunately, this book is not her best. I admire the multi-genre format and the way she moves the plot forward. But the dialogue (especially from adults – maybe she should have just done that noise that they use in Charlie Brown specials) is really wooden and the exposition is long-winded.
There are moments where the writing shines and there are questions to be explored. But not enough. This book, first published in 1996, does demonstrate one thing – she’s gotten better.