Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Song for Bijou, by Josh Farrar

Barnes & Noble

Life for Alex Schrader has never involved girls. He goes to an all-boys prep school and spends most of his time goofing around with his friends. But all that changes the first time he meets Bijou Doucet, a Haitian girl recently relocated to Brooklyn after the earthquake-and he is determined to win her heart. For Bijou, change is the only constant, and she's surprised every day by how different life is in America, especially when a boy asks her out. Alex quickly learns that there are rules when it comes to girls-both in Haitian culture and with his own friends. And Bijou soon learns that she doesn't have to let go of her roots to find joy in her new life.

Told in alternating viewpoints against the vibrant backdrop of Haitian-American culture, Alex and Bijou take their first tender steps toward love in this heartwarming story.

Based on events post-Haitian earthquake, this book brings together Alex -- born and raised in Brooklyn, and Bijou -- recent émigrée who has come to live with her aunt and uncle in NYC.  Alex falls head-over-heels in love with Bijou the moment he sees her buying snacks at a convenience store.  Happily, he has an "in", since she attends the sister school of his own school.  And he just happens to be friends with her friends!  Their backgrounds and personal histories make it difficult for them to get to know each other, but they work to overcome the odds.

This was a really cute middle grade novel.  Alex is hilarious and I love how he swooned over girls in general and Bijou in particular.  He reminds me of my 13-year-old neighbor: sweet, funny, charming, and studious.

Bijou, on the other hand, didn't excite me much and I couldn't figure out why Alex was so enamored with her.  She was described as beautiful, which explains the initial attraction, but she wasn't given enough of a personality to make me swoon over their interactions.  I much preferred reading about Jou Jou, Bijou's older brother.  He was so lively and fun; someone I'd like to hang out with.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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