Book Review: He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander

He Said, She Said
Author: Kwame Alexander
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Released: November 19, 2013
Review Source: Amistad/Harper Collins

Goodreads Summary

Sparks will fly in this hip-hop-hot teen novel that mixes social protest and star-crossed romance! He Said, She Said is perfect for fans of Walter Dean Myers and Rachel Vail alike.

He says: Omar "T-Diddy" Smalls has got it made—a full football ride to UMiami, hero-worship status at school, and pick of any girl at West Charleston High.

She says: Football, shmootball. Here's what Claudia Clarke cares about: Harvard, the poor, the disenfranchised, the hungry, the staggering teen pregnancy rate, investigative journalism . . . the list goes on. She does not have a minute to waste on Mr. T-Diddy Smalls and his harem of bimbos.

He Said, She Said is a fun and fresh novel from Kwame Alexander that throws these two high school seniors together when they unexpectedly end up leading the biggest social protest this side of the Mississippi—with a lot of help from Facebook and Twitter.

The stakes are high, the romance is hot, and when these worlds collide, watch out!

A unique high school story, He Said She Said is a somewhat cliché teenage romance that tries to portray a deeper message with a comedic tone. A tale of witty satire and filled with the usual high school drama, this novel some what falls short on being a pleasuring book. Compared to other teen novels, this book falls short in terms of quality and creativity. The characters in the book start off showing a little bit of potential but fail to achieve any real connection with the reader. While the book does try convey a good message about social protest, the way it goes about just seems to diminish the actual topic conveyed.

He Said She Said is a novel based on the romance of two high school seniors who of course face a pivotal time in their lives. Omar Smalls is an All American high school quarterback who seems to have the world at his fingertips. With people basically kissing the ground he walks on, Omar seemingly lives life without a care in the world. Next comes Claudia Clarke, the good girl who’s bound to go to Harvard and change the world. Having been hurt before she guard’s her heart ferociously, not letting just anybody get close to her. Predictably these two don’t hit off at first but soon their romance blossoms into a classic teenage love story. To go along with the romance the novel also has a plot line about a social protest that tries to show the power of speech and teenagers in general. In my opinion this book has a couple problems that hinders it from being really good. The first problem I have is sadly the characters of the novel. To me the main characters seem forced and don’t really grow or show progress in their development.Claudia, one of the main characters, is the typical smart good girl who wants nothing to do with guys. On a whole there’s nothing wrong with her character, you just don’t get a sense of connection. At one point of the story you do feel some sympathy for her but in reality as a reader it was easy to see coming, Omar, the other main character, causes a vast amount of feelings, some good and some bad. At some points he is the most annoying person to ever live, while later on you see the potential he has to become a great character. Ultimately though he falls short in becoming a memorable main character in a novel in need of a standout character. The second problem that I have with this novel is the dialogue used by everyone in this book. As a teenager I know the language we as a younger generation use deals with a lot of slang, but in this novel I was somewhat amazed at how some of the teenagers were talking. At one point I honestly started laughing just from some of the language used. For some people this would be a major turn off in reading this book. Overall this book has a lot of potential, but the somewhat cheesy dialogue and characters ultimately take away from what could have been a meaningful book.

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