cover image Hold Fast to Dreams

Hold Fast to Dreams

Andrea Davis Pinkney. Morrow Junior Books, $16 (106pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12832-6

Pinkney (Alvin Ailey; Seven Candles for Kwanzaa) takes the title of her first YA novel from a poem by Langston Hughes, who happens to be 12-year-old narrator Dee's favorite poet. No one else in Dee's new town of Wexford, Conn., however, seems to have heard him, a difference emblematic of the great gulf between Dee, the only black girl in school, and her lacrosse-mad classmates. She misses her home in Baltimore, her spot on the ``Jumpin' Jive Five'' double-dutch team and, most of all, her best friend, Lorelle. Pinkney captures the emotional strain that goes along with change through Dee's free-form narrative. Frequently witty, it does not mask the pain experienced by Dee and by her younger sister, Lindsay, who is having troubles of her own adjusting to a posh private school. The author also shares valuable insights into the pressures affecting Dee's parents and other upwardly mobile African Americans. Frank dialogue about how white kids and black kids view each other helps to burst apart stereotypes while affirming racial difference. Ages 10-up. (May)