Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

January 07, 2011

Ninth Ward

By Jewell Parker Rhodes
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Lanesha lives in the Ninth Ward neighborhood in New Orleans.  Although she is smart, she has no friends because of her light green eyes and having been born with a caul over her face--folks say she is strange, that she can see ghosts.  And the truth is, Lanesha CAN see and talk to ghosts.   Lanesha tries to be strong like her Mama Ya-Ya teaches her to be.  Mama Ya-Ya is no relation but she has raised Lanesha from a baby, after her mother died when she was born and her uptown relatives didn't want to adopt her. Mama Ya-Ya tells her of the signs and wonders in the world.  But finally a girl at school seems to want to be friends, despite what the other kids say to her, and so does TaShon from down the block when he brings a dog to share with Lanesha.  So just when things are looking up, a storm comes.  And not just any storm--Hurricane Katrina.  Mama Ya-Ya and Lanesha don't evacuate like they are told to, they figure they'll ride out the storm just fine.  But things are not just fine.  Can an orphan girl read the signs in time to prevent disaster for the only family she has?  This is an intense, poetic, beautiful, suspenseful story that will draw readers in and touch them.  Wonderful.


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