A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

s Hart has nine students in her 10th-grade creative writing class, all with
plenty on their minds. Shante is unlucky in love; basket-ball star Marlon,
careless of academics, is cocky about his future in the pros; Sunday dislikes
and distrusts her mother’s new boyfriend, Mr. Johnson, with his greedy roving
eyes; clever Mary knows she is fat; Rommi needs to pass her math class to get
a gorgeous red Honda. Their final writing assignment is to think of something
that might earn them a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Chapter by first-
person chapter, the students change from ordinary to remarkable. Mr.
Johnson attacks Sunday. She fights him off and ends up shooting him in self-
defense. Shante visits a Jamaican psychic and is promised a boyfriend, who
turns out to be her white classmate Jake. Her African-American parents are
not pleased. Marlon suffers a possibly career-ending injury. Dorian begs for
food for his brothers and encounters the kindness of a stranger. Each of the
nine comes alive for us as they confront difficulties great and small and by the
end of the year, each can claim to have earned a star.
Engaging and insightful writing brings these teenagers to life, while their trials
and joys enlist our sympathy and understanding. Author Brenda Wood really
understands the complexities of adolescence and is able to weave her
characters’ disparate lives into a richly-colored American tapestry. Teenage
readers will surely relate.—Rayna Patton.