Wednesday, January 18, 2017

He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander

A football star tries to get with a girl that is out of his league so to speak.That is the initial premise of this novel but as with many such books, there is a bit more beneath the surface. Kwame Alexander is more famous for his award-winning The Crossover but He Said, She Said does a good job of exploring complicated themes while still making the book accessible.

Image result for he said she said novelYou would think that a guy who speaks about himself in the third person (using his nickname to boot) is an incorrigible narcissist. Anyone can change if they have the right motivation however and in this case the motivation is a woman.  Claudia is a French-speaking, novel-reading, article-writing knockout who resembles Beyonce. There is one problem though, she only dates college guys. Worse, she knows all about T-Diddy's reputation with the females.  T-Diddy will have to change his game up if he ever wants a chance with Claudia.

The seed idea of this novel is the result of a writing workshop Alexander's hosted with some teens and the dialogue is spot on. I liked the fact that some of the chapters were completely in Facebook format chat complete with likes, comments and sub comments.

As T-Diddy does all he can to court Claudia he realizes that his play handbook does not have a chapter for a woman like her and he resorts to serious measures to woo her. That's when the consequences become serious. I like that the wisdom of the ancestors is also recognized as they frequently offer guidance to T-Diddy about matters of life and love. I did have an issue with the portrayal of Claudia as snooty; being black and liking finer things are not mutually exclusive. Some read alikes for boys would be Anna Banks' Joyride and Dana Davidson's Jason & Kyra.

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