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Fresh Girl by Jaira Placide

Fresh Girl (2002)

by Jaira Placide

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385327536, Hardcover)

"In French my name means Tuesday (Mardi)... because I was born on a Tuesday. Thank God it wasn't a Wednesday because then my name would have been Mercredi. In English it sounds like a pain reliever." When it comes to her name, 14-year-old Mardi can joke. It's just the rest of her life that's not so funny. At school she is accused of having "HBO" (Haitian Body Odor) and at home, there is no privacy in the tiny apartment she shares with many assorted family members. And if she strays slightly from her parents' rigid standards of what it means to be a good Haitian girl, she is harshly accused of being "fresh." But Mardi is keeping a terrible secret from her family about things that happened to her during a military coup those last troubled days in Haiti, a secret that makes her sprinkle her bed with rocks to escape the deep slumber of nightmares. And as that secret begins to surface, Mardi must choose to tell and live, or keep silent, while dying inside.

In this challenging debut novel, author Jaira Placide tackles many thorny topics, including sexual harassment, immigrant assimilation, self-mutilation, and rape with a finesse and sensitivity that belies her first-time status. Mardi is a complex character whose joy and pain resonate deeply, mainly due to Placide's ability to maintain Mardi's naive yet cynical voice. With the publication of Fresh Girl, Jaira Placide has released a fresh new voice to the world of teen literature. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:54 -0400)

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After having been sent, at a very young age, from New York to live with her grandmother in Haiti, fourteen-year-old Mardi returns to join her parents and try to shape a new life in Brooklyn.

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