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Twists and Turns    by Janet McDonald order for
Twists and Turns
by Janet McDonald
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2003 (2003)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Inner city teens Teesha and Keeba Washington have graduated from high school, taking a couple of years longer than normal. Teesha is a year younger than her sister Keeba, but since neither ever felt particularly motivated to attend class or study, each repeated their share of grades. The girls love to hang out, but unlike some of their friends, they lack ambitions for college or jobs. For years, Teesha and Keeba have been braiding hair in their New York housing project, so after some prodding from a friend, they decide to open TeeKee's Tresses.

They obtain a loan from their best friend Aisha Ingram, a famous roller skating television commercial actress. Although their first day doing hair is a resounding success, bad things start to happen almost immediately. There are problems with their landlord, who misunderstands their website and thinks the girls are rich; an enemy (who pretends to be a friend) sabotages their business; and more of the housing projects are being re-zoned to attract white professionals to the neighborhood - not the type to get braids in their hair. Will Teesha and Keeba overcome all that is stacked against them to achieve success in life?

Twists and Turns is geared towards a fairly specific audience of black inner city teens. It is a pleasure to watch Teesha and Keeba realize their potential and achieve their dreams, which should be an encouragement to those going through the same struggles. The story is refreshing, because it breaks down the common stereotype of black young people in gangs. The girls and their group of friends strive to move past these gang expectations and shun those who take that route in life. They are very close to their mother, who is supportive of their dream to make something out of their lives. Many black pop culture references are included, which should endear readers who understand the language and culture of the inner city.

Navigating the twists and turns of life together, Teesha and Keeba learn that family and friends can get a person through anything. If you're looking for a story about people who don't have it all figured out, but conquer their fears to reach for success, you'll find that and more in Twists and Turns.

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