Sunday, February 20, 2011

After Tupac and D Foster

Woodson, J. (2008). After Tupac and D Foster. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Plot Description:
Growing up in Queens, the unnamed narrator and her neighbor and best friend Neeka are confined to the safety of their block by their parents. Out of nowhere the girls meet D Foster, as she drifts into their lives with a lot of holes in the story of her life and a freedom that the girls have never known. D has never known the boundaries that the girls are restricted to, having wandered her entire life, in and out of foster homes, always waiting for her mom to come back for her. The lives of their girls are so different, but also so much the same within their changing tween lives. Interwoven into their daily lives is the constant news updates of the rapper Tupac Shakur, and his being shot, put on trial, jailed, and finally killed. These girls, specifically D, identify with the rapper telling about a life not too unparalleled from their own and being able to put a voice to their feelings. Eventually D's mom does come for her, separating the girls from a friendship they had hoped would never end.


This is a very well written book about the awkwardness and unknown of being a tween. The girls are struggling through each of their lives, trying to be who they want to be and find their "Big Purpose," but also trying to remain as they are with each other. The interaction between the girls is very sweet and real. I love how the author shows the different perspectives of the lives of the girls, each wanting what they don't have, not knowing exactly what they do want. She did an excellent job of capturing that age and the uncertainty that goes along with it.

Realistic Fiction

Reading Level:
Ages 10 - 14

Similar Books:

friendship, single-parent, family, foster care

Newbery Honor Book

Character Names/Descriptions:
Unnamed narrator: Tweenage girl, living with her single mother in Queens, NY. She is very smart and grew up across the street from Neeka, her best friend. She also becomes best friends to D.

Neeka Jones: Tweenage girl, lives with her mom, dad, twin brothers, twin sisters, and older brother. Has a gay older brother in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Lives across the street from her best friend, the unnamed narrator. Becomes best friends with D Foster.

D Foster (Desiree Johnson): D is a tweenage girl living in a foster home. She doesn't know her father and her mother is initially not around. She is a wanderer, becomes best friends with Neeka and the unnamed narrator. She loves Tupac and has a special bond with him and the similarities between their lives.

Three girls living in New York bond and become best friends over their shared love for Tupac, uncertainties of their lives, and their quest to find their "big purpose."

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