Marilyn Nelson & Tonya C. Hegamin
I.Q. Africans lived and died in the worse ways, for the same stuff we kill each other over now. Some people do anything for money: they’d kill a dream or sell a soul. Chuck that magazine. It was so not Hip Hop. –Pemba from her poem “Human Bling”
Pemba’s Song is about a girl who moves to an old house in Connecticut. She discovers that the ghost of a slave girl is trying to communicate with her.
This book was ok. The problem was its length. Towards the middle of the book, I felt like I missed a huge part, so I went back and re-read it, but I hadn’t missed anything. The story reads almost as if the authors had a page limit and wanted to confine the story to only a certain number of pages.
There weren’t really chapters, but after every new heading there was a poem by Pemba. They were good and my favorite part of the book. I’ve always been jealous of poets and writers. I’ve never had a way with words, especially when it comes to writing poems (I’m an acrostic and rhyming poet). “Cell Phone Blues” and “Human Bling” were my favorite poems.
I didn’t have a favorite character in the book. Again, I feel that the book is too short so see any significant character development and get to really know the characters. I liked Pemba and Malik (her kinda-sorta-boyfriend). Pemba calls Malik her Urban Elf (cute nickname) because he always wears a hoodie that’s too big for him, and the hood is always up. Pemba loves music, (always has at least one headphone in her ear) and writing. She’s always writing poems and writing in her journal.
The ghost aspect of it was boring. The slave girl’s (Phyllis) story was uninteresting. I didn’t feel a connection to this book, and it didn’t hold my interest. I didn’t care that a ghost was trying to contact Pemba. Bottom line, the book needed to be longer to really develop the plot and characters.
Ari says she's sarcastic, caring, slightly crazy teenager. She loves to read, listen to music, dance and have fun. She's been reading seriously since second grade. Proud to be black. Ari is one of Color Online's CORA Girls. They rock. Check out her blog, Reading In Color.