Dancing Pink Flamingos and Other Stories Author:Maria Testa From School Library Journal — Grade 8 Up?In this collection of 10 short stories about YAs in urban settings, the protagonists are confronted with a variety of unsettling situations. In "The Yale Girl," a young hood becomes smitten with an older, more sophisticated woman, lets his guard down, and is unexpectedly assaulted by another gang of youths... more ». In "Math Genius," Cristina, a prospective college student, is mugged and subsequently witnesses one of the muggers get shot and killed on the street below her window. In "Family Day," Anthony and his younger brother express their feelings of rage toward their incarcerated father. All of the selections portray young people trying to understand themselves and the violent world around them. Though the tales are mostly told in the first person, readers are rarely given the opportunity to empathize with the characters, who seldom show emotional vulnerability or depth. The urban settings, adequately portrayed, allow readers to see city life as it is for many teens today. But the mostly superficial plots and characters may prove unappealing; also, some stories lack direction and end abruptly. Urban school or public libraries may want to consider this collection, but others can pass.?Carrie A. Guarria, Lindenhurst Memorial Library, NY
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 8^-12. Hard times in the life of urban teens is the theme of this promising but uneven short story collection. Among the weakest in the roundup is the title story, with one-dimensional characters and a predictable ending, and the stories featuring male protagonists are neither particularly successful nor subtly written. But at their best, the tales, which deal with terrorism, sexual harassment, crime, and other unpleasant subjects, feature fine, unsentimental portrayals of young women facing ugly realities and rediscovering optimism. One outstanding story, "Math Genius," concerns a math-music prodigy who witnesses the murder of the teen who mugged her. In "The Corrupting of Fouad," a young artist helps a lost and confused Iraqi boy use art to express his turmoil over the Persian Gulf War. A mixed bag, to be sure, but when Testa writes about teens using art and music to understand their difficult world, her prose is as beautifully moving as it is straightforward. A collection worth sampling. Debbie Carton« less