Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Keeping it Real

Chase, Paula. Keeping it Real
October 19th 2021 by Greenwillow Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Mari's mother and father run a highly successful business located in District City, Flexx Unlimited, that is involved in producing fashion and styling celebrities. When her best friend, Justice, earns an internship there, Mari asks if she can work at Style High as well, since it seems a better plan that doing volunteer work or hanging out with with Ms. Sadie, who is a grandmother figure to her. Since she goes to a predominately white private school, Flowered Arms, she's excited to spend time at the mainly Black business, especially since Justice will be there. Her parents are okay with this, but very insistent that she actually WORK, and not just take advantage of the situation because they run the business. The other interns, including Chanda and Kara, are working with Marques and Joel, and the work is not what they envisioned. Instead of immediately styling celebrities, they have to inventory collections, clean and reorganize items, and serve as general gophers. While this is better than cooking burgers, like her cousin is doing, Mari wishes it were a bit more exciting. Chandra is not too bad to work with, but Kara is always rather mean, and seems to have designs on Justice. When there is a competition to style the musician Magiq, Mari gets to show her talents. When a family secret from the past emerges, how will Mari's involvement in the family business be affected?
Strengths: Chase is an avid advocate of upper middle grade titles, and does a fantastic job of making her characters a bit older. This allows them to have more freedom and agency to conduct their lives, which is hugely appealing to my students! Mari's lavish lifestyle, brushes with celebrity, and private school will also delight readers who probably don't live this way. I'm always a fan of books where the characters pursue their passions and work, and the fact that the internship was less glamorous than the interns thought it would be was a great lesson. The family secret was a great twist that I did not see coming, and the way the family dealt with it was realistic. Plenty of friend drama, family dynamics, and outrageous fashions make this an intriguing read. The cover is such a great pop of color!
Weaknesses:This has a fair amount of slang, which is a great way to represent youth culture. My reservations about this always arise because slang varies in different parts of the country and changes over tim. This might not be slang my students use, and might date the book more quickly. On the bright side, I learned a lot of new words! 
What I really think: Chase's So Done, Dough Boys, and Turning Point all do well in my library, so I will definitely be purchasing. 
 Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment