Sister Mischief

by Laura Goode

Esme and her three closest friends are Sister Mischief, an all-girl hip-hop group... read more

Esme and her three closest friends are Sister Mischief, an all-girl hip-hop group in a predominantly white Minneapolis suburb. Far from posers, the girls embrace hip-hop as an art form blending personal and political expression and musical experimentation. But the principal of their high school thinks hip-hop is gangster music. One dimension of debut novelist Laura Goode’s story follows Sister Mischief’s ongoing effort to fight the school administration after hip-hop is banned. They form an unsanctioned student group combining discussion of hip-hop music with a Gay-Straight Alliance: Hip Hop for Heteros and Homos (4H). But it’s as much personal as political for Esme, who comes out early on in the novel. She falls in love with band mate Rowie and their relationship unfolds with explicit and tender intimacy, and also great secrecy: Rowie is terrified her parents will find out. Esme is convinced Rowie’s progressive mother would be supportive, but for Rowie, who is Bengali, culture and family cannot be separated. Goode’s lively writing is full of humor and genuine feeling. Her novel is laced with hip hop slang, including heavy swearing, and buoyed by smart discussions among her intelligent characters about the power of language, sex and sexuality, race, politics, religion, and more. References to hip-hop music makers—present day and in the past—also pepper a narrative whose characters are cast with unapologetic attitude. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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