True Believer By Virginia Euwer Wolff
New York Atheneum 2001 264p.
TAG: It Doesn’t Always Have to Rhyme (Verse) Realistic Fiction
True Believer is the second book in the Make Lemonade Trilogy by Virginia Euwer Wolff. In this free verse novel we pick back up with fifteen year old LaVaughn who is holding on to her dream of going to college despite all the forces working against her. LaVaughn was feeling comfortable with old friends Annie and Myrtle, her school, and her relationship with her mother. Her life goes into a tail spin when the staff in her inner city high school select her for special classes—classes where the students want to do well; her best friends join a church club without her and Jody, a childhood pal, moves back into her rundown building and he is now all grown up!
The climax in True Believer is when LaVaughn feels like she has lost everyone around her and doesn’t even know who she is anymore. Free verse allows the reader to hear the story purely and simply from her heart. The author does a superb job of giving insight to the reader in what it is like to be in the inner city, coming to a point where one accepts that there are frequent shootings at school, and to live in poverty. Yet the tone of the book is one of hopefulness—hanging onto dreams, understanding that relationships change and to become a true believer in oneself. Even with the serious subject matter Virginia Euwer Wolff shares delightful humor as she describes the “Jesus Club” that LaVaughn friends are in–-that you should “get a pet if you want someone to love and to sleep with” (50). It is an uplifting novel that realistic fiction readers will definitely enjoy. The final book in this trilogy has finally been released and is at the top of my must read list. The cover of this book may lead students to believe that they are going to read a romance which will attract the female teen reader.
Quality 5Q Popularity 4P Grades: JS Lexile: 820
Website about Author: http://www.childrensliteraturenetwork.org/birthbios/brthpage/08aug/8-25wolff.html