Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street

Sharon G. Flake is one of my students' favorite authors. They fly through anything she reads. I really appreciate the branding she has going; we can tell one of her books from a mile away.

The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street is another example of a time when Flake focuses on an unlikeable protagonist. (She did this in Bang!, Begging for Change, and Money Hungry). It is such an interesting choice to have a main character to whom the reader must struggle to relate. This time, her names is Queen and she is a conceited little girl who thinks she runs the world. Everyone except her insanely doting parents hate her. When a new boy named Leroy transfers to the school, she turns her cruelty on him because he wears old clothes and smells like pee. The fact that he smells like pee cannot be emphasized enough in this book. I was actually surprised by how many times that came up in the book.

There are a lot of questions left unanswered in this slim book: is Leroy really from Senegal? Will Queen get over herself? Why are her parents like that? It feels like Flake just decided to finish writing and didn't wrap things up. Still, it was an enjoyable and quick read. My students are going to love this, just like all Flake's novels.

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