McMullen, Margaret. Cashay.
Houghton Mifflin/Clarion/Graphia/Kingfisher 2009 166p 15.00 978-0-547-07656-0 ms/hs
The personal thoughts and actions of 14 year old Cashay drive the plot which takes place after her younger sister is killed in the crossfire of a neighborhood gang. Cashay’s behavior reflects the anger feels after this tragedy. When she is given a mentor, their unlikely bond leads to a hopeful conclusion. The personal thoughts and actions of 14 year old Cashay, a child of an urban housing project in Chicago, drive the plot which takes place after her younger sister is killed in the crossfire of a neighborhood gang. With her mother turning to drugs after the loss of her child, Cashay is forced to fend for herself despite her own grief about her sister’s death. Cashay’s behavior reflects the anger she feels after this tragedy and when she is involved in a violent incident in the classroom, she is must see the school counselor who refers her to an after school program at the local Catholic Church, even though Cashay protests that she’s not Catholic. When matched with a mentor through the program, an unlikely bond develops between them. Allison, a high energy stockbroker, understands Cashay and provides solace to the teen. Cashay, in turn, offers Allison a chance to nurture and examine her own values. Although her neighborhood is fraught with danger, Cashay perseveres, getting a job, applying for a better school, and evading the shooter of her sister, who threatens her because she told the police. When the shooter endangers Cashay and invades her life with Allison, the plot takes a perilous turn. Cashay is such an authentic character and her voice is so strong that the reader will be totally drawn into this book. An excellent choice for middle and high school libraries, this title is recommended for Tristate Books of Note. Tina Weinraub