You’ve always secretly loved this time of the year, even though everybody else seems to grumble about it.
Back to school. Back to homework and getting up early to hit the books. Back to boring classrooms. Grrrr.
You grumble along, but the truth is that back-to-school season is exciting. You get to see friends you didn’t see over summer, the clothes and kicks everybody’s rocking and boys — the ones who were nerds last spring — who suddenly became oh-so-fine.
For Dynasty, Patience and Santana, this isn’t just the end of summer, though. In the new teen novel by Kelli London, you’ll see that it’s really “Boyfriend Season.”
Santana is just about the flyest thing in Atlanta.
Check that. She is the flyest and not just because her girl, Meka, hooks her up with the best knock-off handbags or that Santana wears name-brand clothes or because she’s gorgeous — though she is.
No, Santana is on fire because she’s Pharaoh’s woman and he runs the block, end of story. He doesn’t run Santana, though. She does what she wants, when she wants even if it might get her in trouble.
Patience has never had a boyfriend because her father has forbidden it.
As the bishop’s daughter, Patience has to attend church, sing in the choir and make the bishop look good — even though things in the bishop’s house are not good at all. They’re so bad, in fact, that Patience almost hates her father.
So is it any surprise that she rebels and sneaks out to spend time with her BFF, Silky? And with her obvious purity, is it any surprise that she catches the eye of Silky’s friend, the hottest R&B singer in the country?
Though Rufus would love to be Dynasty’s man, Dynasty sees Rufus as just a friend — an annoying one at that. They’ve known one another forever, traded insults since they were little, and they know one another’s secrets. Dynasty knows, for instance, that Rufus is self-conscious about his lack of education and his weight.
And Rufus? He knows that Dynasty wants out of the projects more than anything — even if it means becoming the “business partner” of a possible thug.
Three girls, three men — or more. Can Hotlanta’s back-to-school season get any hotter?
So you say you’ve got enough drama in your life, and you don’t need to read about any more? Just relax then, grab “Boyfriend Season,” and be pleasantly surprised.
London takes a perfect mix of strong young women in this book and adds a few genuinely decent boys. She gives them realistic places to be and enough trouble to keep things interesting, then she shakes things up for a story that’s a little empowering and a lot sensible without a big, annoying pile of teen drama. That lack, I think you’ll find, is quite refreshing.
If your 12- to 17-year-old is looking at back-to-school season with an evil eye, give her this and get her back into the reading mood. “Boyfriend Season” is something teens and tweens will enjoy and moms can approve.
Terri Schlichenmeyer’s children’s book reviews appear weekly in View.