Chibarro, Julie Into the Dangerous World, illustrated by Jim Superville Sovak, 333 pgs. Viking, 2015. Price $17.99. Language: R (115 swears, 65 “f”); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence – PG-13.
One night, Ror’s father, Dado, walks into her room with a roll of brown paper and says “I’m going to save you, girl,” and then leaves. Suddenly, smoke fills the house and Ror, her mother and her sister, Marilyn, leap from the second story window into the snow. Their geodesic dome was on fire and her father was still inside. Dado and Ma had started the commune 15 years earlier and as many as 15 people lived with them. But as Dado became more irrational and paranoid, they were the only ones left. Penniless, Ma and the girls moved to the city into a roach infested hotel room. Ror has never been to school, her hair is burned off, and is defensive that she is no longer free and needs to fit in. Dado always said that she has an artistic gift and she believes that she draws in order to live. Once she met Trey and saw graffiti, she wondered, “Is this where my talent lies?”
Set in the 1970’s and 80’s, this book explores the idealism of communes, President Reagan’s distain for welfare, and inner city grit and art. Ror is extremely reflective and the artwork compliments her thought process. The language is quite lyrical, in spite of the swearing among the teens. Female graffiti artists are rare in the city and even rarer in YA fiction.
HS – OPTIONAL. SarahGH, Teacher Librarian