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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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The Summer Prince

The Summer Prince - Alaya Dawn Johnson This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: Pretty. Yay, no whitewashing. Natural hair on a woman of color!The Gist: Summer king gets elected, summer king gets killed - still don't understand why. June is spoiled brat who causes trouble and calls it art.Review: WARNING: This will be ranty. If you don't like swearing, please move on to another review - this one is not for you.This book broke me. And not in the "oh my god this is so good nothing will ever compare" kind of way. More in the "reading has become a huge disappointment and I will now spend my time watching reality tv instead" kind of way. I hated every minute that I spent with this book and, now that I have finally quit, I don't even want to read anything else. I am that annoyed. I hated this world. It was futuristic and fucked up and nothing made sense. To go along with the nothing making sense was the fact that the author chose not to explain anything. I made it 3/4 of the way through the book and I STILL have no idea why the hell they choose a summer king or why the hell they kill him some years and not others. And you know what? I don't fucking care. That is how little these characters affected me.The kids were spoiled and entitled. June spent most of her time glorifying a father who committed suicide and blaming her mother for this, despite any evidence that she did anything to cause it. When she wasn't being a heinous daughter, she was pulling pranks making art for some weird ass contest to which no one ever explained the rules. Oh, and did I mention that any other free time she had was spent at lavish parties? That was the gist of the plot, no danger, no immediate cause to work towards, just an episode of The Hills set against the backdrop of an alternative future.Despite all these issues, I might have managed to get past it. However, then came the sex. I understand the desire to have sexual situations and language in a young adult novel, I really do. I do not, however, enjoy the way that this author chose to use sex in such a casual manner. June actually told us of how she and her best friend took care of their "virginity problem". We hear of the Summer King sleeping with anything and everything that moves and then, to take the literary cake, June strips off OUTSIDE, masturbates, is revealed to have had an audience to her little show and then acts as if it meant nothing. No. NO NO NO NO NO! I can't even.The fuck?If I gave this book to one of my students, I would end up fired. Fuck this. I'm out.Teaching/Parental Notes: Age: 16 and upGender: Female - I guess.Sex: See review - this shit's fucked up.Violence: Fist fighting. KnifeplayInappropriate Language: Whore, Shit, Ass, BastardsSubstance Use/Abuse: drug use