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The Kayla Chronicles: 06/16/10
When I sat down to write my review of The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston, I thought it would be a simple process. I had read it and loved it. Since it wasn't a review book I wasn't tied down by FTC regulations regarding endorsements. It would just be an enthusiastic post about a book with a positive message for teen girls featuring an African American main character and her extended, stable family all of whom live if Florida.
Then I read the review at Black Eyed Susan's which made me pause and rethink my reaction to the book. Susan came to the book with more knowledge of black feminist history and felt that the book missed the mark by what it didn't include. I am not an expert in black feminism nor am I even conversant in the subject. I'm not saying I have to read The Kayla Chronicles, even though Kayla and her friends do quote a lot of famous people (much like some of my friends took to quoting Shakespeare for a couple years in high school). Instead, I'm asking, what am I missing in my ignorance and can I even gauge how well the book will do with its intended audience (I'm assuming teen girls of color).
The answer is, I don't know. I can tell you that I as a late thirties white woman loved the positive messages in the book and found Kayla to be a believable and likeable teen character. She reminded me of many of my teen friends who were also juggling activism and cheer leading. Were I still a teen, I'm sure I'd love the book. But even as a teen, I wouldn't exactly be the target audience, although I'd have two circles in common with that target on a Venn diagram.