Finally, I got to read Homeboyz.
Alan Lawrence Sitomer, the author. He was the 2007 California Teacher of the Year, still teaches in downtown LA, is a popular author, and a prolific contributor on the English Companion Ning. I often wonder how many hours he gets in a day, as I only get twenty four!
I have been waiting for over a month for my chance to read Homeboyz. The 9th graders have been passing it back and forth, never allowing me to get my hands on it. A few pages in, I wondered if that was intentional. There is some serious cursing in this novel! I grabbed a silver sharpie and wrote "Grade Nine Only" on the front before I continued reading.
This is the final installment in the trilogy that includes The Hoopster and Hip Hop High School. It details Teddy Anderson's quest for revenge after gang violence claims his younger sister. As a protagonist, Teddy is unlikeable; he is a disrespectful thug with a superiority complex. Sitomer endows him with the some pretty spectacular abilities: insomnia that only requires two hours of sleep each night, superior intellect, a superfit body, and genius computer skills. Sitomer knows LA teens better than I do, but that seems like a pretty unlikely combination.
Regardless of these quibbles, I really enjoyed Homeboyz. The story is engrossing and the plot twists surprised me. It is obvious why my students enjoyed it so much and are desperately waiting for Sitomer's next novel to hit our shelves. I recommend picking up this book and reading it before adding it your class' shelf.