Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-A collection of poems written in various forms, each narrated in a different teen voice. According to the author's note, Mora envisioned the flow of the poems as that of a symphony with four movements-an opening focus on love's initial rush, followed by a few bumps in the road, healing after loss of love, and finally the joy of finding new love. This cohesion is indeed delivered. Peppered with Spanish, the selections define the emotion in countless ways. The quiet lyricism of some lines will prompt many readers to roll them over and over on their tongues; this is a world in which a simple smile can make a boy feel as if he's "swallowed the sun" or one's worst fear might be a kiss "dull like oatmeal." Where relevant, poetic form is indicated, defined, and discussed on the adjacent page. For all its beauty, this collection is also, in some ways, hard to pin down. The jacket copy and title might lead one to expect a focus on the intensity of teen romantic love. The love here is neither hot and heavy nor cliched, however, but rather a glimpse into the last remaining innocence of the teen years. At times, the narration even slips a bit astray from an authentically teenage voice. Those expecting a more typical raw, edgy approach to love with poetry akin to the ramblings of a teenager's journal will be better off elsewhere. Teachers in need of a fresh new avenue for teaching poetic form, lovers of language, and teens in search of a broader definition of love will find it here.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
From family and school to dating and being dumped, the subjects in these 50 poems cover teens' experiences of love in many voices and situations. Several entries incorporate Spanish words and idioms, as in Ode to Teachers, a moving tribute in English with a Spanish translation. A few poems hit a too-sweet tone with forced rhyme, but the best are wry, passionate, casual, and honest ( It's nice having a sister especially when boys come over, / and some of them like you better ). One of the best is Silence, in which a girl speaks about waiting and waiting for her childhood friend to invite her to the prom. Mora writes in free verse, as well as a wide variety of classic poetic forms including haiku, clerihew, sonnet, cinquain, and blank verse and for each form, there is an unobtrusive explanatory note on the facing page. The tight structures intensify the strong feelings in the poems, which teens will enjoy reading on their own or hearing aloud in the classroom.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2009 Booklist