XO Ronette

Bk. 1. 158p. (Campus Confessions). Saddleback. 2013. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781622507016.
Gr 9 Up—After resigning herself to the not-terribly-exciting Chicagoland Community College, hotel maid and poet Ronette Bradley is taken off the wait list of the prestigious Houseman University, a historically black college in Washington, DC. This series opener details the teen's first weeks on campus, where her hunky football-playing boyfriend Jayson has also been accepted. She's been given a scholarship that covers half of her tuition, and with her mother's promise that the rest will be paid out of a secret rainy day fund, Ronette is ready to dive into undergraduate life. Despite being roomed with a nasty and privileged party girl, Chyna (the tabloid fodder daughter of famous talk show host Crystal), the young woman's college experience seems to be panning out fabulously; she's the only freshman in an otherwise senior-level poetry class taught by her idol and has befriended bubbly Marta, not to mention her adoring boyfriend, who, despite being chased by desirable girls on campus, seems to only have eyes for her. Predictably, drama ensues: her mother only manages to find the tuition money by reaching out to Crystal's talk show, and Jayson winds up in bed with Chyna. A fairly piecemeal plot and syntax that seems directed at a hip youth demographic from the mid-'90's (Ronette's first sexual experience is described as "da bomb") make this an additional purchase, unless there is a large call for similar titles.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City

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