Booktalk for Kendra
- Grades: 9–12
About this book
When the "wrong" thing feels so right, it's hard to know what's the right decision.
Renee had Kendra when she was only fourteen. Then she left Kendra with her grandmother, and took off to live her own life. Now it's fourteen years later, and Renee is graduating from Princeton with a PhD, and Kendra is starting high school. Kendra and Nana live in the Bronx, in the projects. Her best friend, Adonna, lives in the same building. Adonna's also Kendra's aunt, because her big brother Kenny is Kendra's father. Kenny, Kendra and Nana all dream about Renee coming home to stay-but all she does is make excuses and break promises. And when she finally does come home, it's only for one night, and she's gone again. The projects aren't part of her world any longer.
But Kendra's got other things to think about. Nashawn, the boy Adonna is crushing over, has a locker next to Kendra's and is always asking her about Adonna. Kendra has no idea what's going on with that, but she knows she doesn't have time to mess with him. She's on the backstage crew for the Freshman-Sophomore Showcase, and has to work on the set every day after school. Nana is throwing fits about it, because she's sure Kendra is going to end up just like her mother, and wants her home just as soon as school is out. Sometimes it feels like Nana is trying to smother her, and Kendra hates it.
That's one reason why Kendra hasn't mentioned Darnell, who's on the backstage crew for the play, and somehow manages to be wherever Kendra is. Adonna says he's really interested in her, but he's too shy to say so. Kendra's interested too, but so far they've just talked a little, and watched each other.
Then something happens that changes Kendra's life. She's at her locker, looking for a book, on her way to the diner for an after-the-show celebration, when Nashawn walks up. The hallway is deserted. They talk for a minute, and when Kendra walks away, Nashawn follows her into the teacher's lounge. Before Kendra realizes what's going on, Nashawn has his hands around her waist and pushes her up against the wall. Nashawn belongs with Adonna, doesn't he? But being with him feels so good, so right, so impossible to resist.
After it's all over, Kendra walks back down the hall, knowing that for the first time in her life, she has no idea what she's doing. How could she have betrayed her best friend? What's she gonna do the next time she sees Adonna? And worse-what's she gonna do the next time she sees Nashawn?
This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian, and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.