Sunday, September 26, 2010

BOYS DON'T CRY by Malorie Blackman

BOYS DON'T CRY by Malorie Blackman is an emotionally charged story about love and family and the different shapes they sometimes take.  This book is one you won't want to miss.

Dante is anxiously awaiting his A Level exam results.  He is proud of himself for taking the exams a year early, and he's eager to know if his scores will have him headed to university in the near future.  But when a knock at the door brings his old girlfriend and not the postman, Dante is in for the surprise of his life.

Melanie has been gone for over a year.  The last time they spent any time together was at a friend's party.  That night they were both drunk and ended up in an upstairs bedroom where they had a less than memorable sexual encounter.  Now Melanie was sitting in his living room holding a baby on her lap.  Dante is at first confused and then shocked when Melanie tells him the baby is his daughter Emma.

If finding out he has a daughter is not enough, Melanie asks Dante to watch the baby for a bit while she goes out to run an errand.  Before he has a chance to object, she is gone.  And not long after, Melanie calls from her mobile phone and tells Dante she won't be coming back.

Dante's father is furious when he hears about his son's irresponsible sexual behavior, but to Dante's amazement, he immediately leaps into action making a plan and getting the supplies they need to care for a baby.  Dante is equally shocked when his younger brother Adam falls head-over-heels in love with little Emma.  All Dante can think about is how to get Melanie to come back and get him out of this impossible situation.

Even though his A Level exam scores are perfect, Dante knows his plans for university and the future have become a distant dream.  He quickly learns being a father might be the hardest job on earth.  The more time he spends with Emma, the more his love begins to blossom.  With the help of his dad, his brother, and his aunt, Dante begins to take his responsibility seriously.

Maybe it is learning to love his daughter or maybe it's spending more time at home, but Dante also begins to discover his usually cheerful younger brother has some problems of his own.  He finds himself filling not only the role of new father, but also that of protective older brother.  Through it all he learns the true meaning of love and all the joy and pain it can bring.

Author Malorie Blackman takes the usual teen parenthood story and turns it upside-down.  Readers will be quickly drawn into Dante's experiences and will feel every moment of fear, regret, and exhilaration as he deals with all life has thrown his way.  There are fabulous moments of joy, flashes of anger, and terrible tragedies as this odd family struggles to hold it all together.

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