Begging for Change

by Sharon G. Flake

Everything seems like such a struggle for teenager Raspberry Hill and her mother.... read more

Everything seems like such a struggle for teenager Raspberry Hill and her mother. They’re no longer homeless, but every step forward, like having a decent apartment, has its downside—in this case, a threatening young neighbor who puts Raspberry’s mother in the hospital. When Raspberry, who is always looking for ways to make money, sees a wad of bills in her friend Zora’s purse, it just doesn’t seem fair—why is everything so easy for Zora? She takes the money, and nothing is the same. Zora doesn’t trust her and wants Raspberry to tell their friends and family what she’s done. Meanwhile Raspberry’s luck—never great—seems to spiral downward. When Zora accuses Raspberry of being just like Raspberry’s father—a drug addict who steals some of Raspberry’s hard-earned money—Raspberry aches at the thought it might be true. Sharon Flake’s first-person narrative is alive with the words and feelings of a teen trying to make sense of herself and the people around her—good people trying their best to live a good life—in this novel that underscores how challenges both within and beyond one’s own control, from personal choices to race and class prejudice, can make the struggle for a better life so hard. (Ages 12–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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