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June 27th, 2007

Book Review: “It Chicks”

Remember “Fame”?  It was that awesome 1980s film with 1970s
sex appeal, where socio-economically diverse kids went to the most
challenging art high school in New York? As these kids were the best of the best the competition was intense; “You want
fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start payin’, in
sweat. Fame! I’m gonna live forever! I want to learn how to fly, high!”

With that catchy tune ringing in your ears, fast forward 20+ years to the present and find yourself in the middle
of Armstrong High School, diving into the first
page of Tia William’s book “It Chicks”—the first installment of Tia’s soon-to-be-published teen
series. Its contents are reminiscent of
every 30-something’s favorite classic film (mentioned above), and it’s sure to entertain adults as
well as kids.

When I first started reading “It Chicks,” I had to take a step back and remember that I am a 30-something reading a book written for a
teenager.  After adopting to
the pop writing style, I was able to delve in. From the start, Tia’s method of drawing a relationship between the reader and characters made it easy to befriend each player. Within the first few pages I immediately felt attached
to the main character, Tangie, and started pulling for her career as a dancer,
as well as her too-young-to-be-in-love confused relationship with her "almost"
man, CJ.

This is one of the books multiple strengths; though all
of the characters attend the same high school, the nature of each character is
vastly different. Everyone who reads
this book will be able to relate to one of the individual’s and
their independent journeys; their insecurities, their strengths and their strengths used
to mask their insecurities. The reader
is there as the characters struggle through the disconnect between the mind and
the heart, searching wildly for their place in the world—all while traveling
through an uncertain time in life called ‘high school.’ These kids were not only trying to find their
place in high school, but they are in a performing arts high school
where every aesthetic aspect of their body and mind is critiqued to the point
of ridicule.

Shoot, like normal high
school wasn’t hard enough!

 

The characters are what really make this story, and Tangie is who we center the most attention on.  Tangie’s struggle with her insecurities of being
constantly surrounded by the uber-skinny “bun heads” is heartbreakingly fascinating—sometimes we truly are our own worst enemy.

Other main players include CJ, Tangie’s love interest who is a "rough around the edges" artist with a bigger heart than he lets on.  Then there’s Skye, the leader of the popular “It Chicks”
clique, a true competitor who’s
ego only hides her insecurities. 

Through all these various characters, their talents, and
the drama that pursues, Tia creates a web of entertainment worth reading. Though the characters and their tales are
fictional, there is a realness to her story telling which grasps the readers
attention, making the reader anxiously turn from one page to the next, no
matter how old we are.

 

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