Monday, October 7, 2013

A Song for Bijou by Josh Farrar

A Song for Bijou
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers
Nominated by Brandy Painter 
This book is being considered for a Cybils award, so I'm not giving it my normal rating. Alex goes to an all--boy school, but he takes a liking to a new girl, Bijou, from the nearby, all-girl school. He finds out she's from Haiti, which  is a problem for cultural reasons. Her family doesn't believe she should socialize outside of school with anyone, let alone a boy, so their relationship must be kept secret. Bijou's and Alex's friends help get them together, but there are other classmates who are not as helpful. Bijou's brother is supportive of them, and he even teaches Alex to play Haitian drums. However, the lies they must tell in order to see each other may lead to their doom.

I don't recall reading any books that involve the Haitian culture. The relationship between Alex and Bijou is realistic, and Bijou's family structure creates interesting conflicts. They're good kids learning about relationships, but it's difficult living with the expectations and influences of others. Overall, it's a good story.

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