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Saint Iggy    by K. L. Going Amazon.com order for
Saint Iggy
by K. L. Going
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2008 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Sixteen-year-old Iggy Croso got kicked out of school. He can't understand why the teacher says he made threatening gestures when all he wanted to do was join his Spanish class. He is enrolled in the class even if he hasn't shown up yet this year.

Iggy lives in the projects with a meth addicted mother and a dad who is drunk or stoned most of the time. Iggy doesn't know where he'll go if he can't go to school. The principal sets up a hearing with the school board, but tells Iggy there is not much hope that he'll get another chance even if his parents hire an attorney. Like that's going to happen. Like they'll even be at the hearing. Iggy hasn't seen his mother in weeks.

Iggy hatches a plan. If he does something extraordinary, if he is a hero, then the school will want him to come back.

His only friend is Mo, who is supposed to be his mentor, but mostly they just hang out. Mo is a college dropout whose parents are rich. He has renounced worldly things and wants to be a Hare Krishna devotee. Right now he's into marijuana, but he's heard about a dealer and thinks he'll try something more potent.

Iggy, who was born an addict, has never used drugs outside of those he was exposed to in his mother's womb. He knows he has to save Mo from the drug dealer so he follows him to a twenty-four hour party. The drug dealer is Freddie, his mother's dealer. Mo makes his deal while Iggy searches the party for his mother.

Iggy's voice is honest and sweet with the innocence of a much younger soul. Hyper and often distracted by things going on around him, Iggy would be diagnosed with ADHD if he lived in the suburbs instead of the projects. He is determined to do the right thing by finding his mother and saving Mo from drugs, but how can a kid with so little going for him make a difference? You won't be able to put this touching and powerful story down once you start reading.

2nd Review by Ricki Marking-Camuto:

It has been a long time since I have cared about a character in a book as much as I cared about Iggy Corso in K. L. Going's Saint Iggy. Randy 'Iggy' Corso is not having the best life. He has been held back two grades because he is slow (most likely because he was born high on drugs); he lives on the fifteen floor of the Projects; his mother has run off on a meth bender; his father is too stoned to care about anything; and he has just been kicked out of school for threatening a teacher, which he did not do.

Iggy decides that he needs to change everyone's opinion of him by contributing to society. To help him with his plan, he enlists Mo, his old tutor. Mo, however, is not without problems of his own problems which he tries to solve by smoking pot and rejecting the establishment. Trying to find enlightenment, Mo runs into a drug deal gone bad, and now he and Iggy are running for their lives in an effort to come up with the money Mo owes. They find themselves at Mo's mother's uptown apartment where Iggy finally feels like someone cares about him. As much as Iggy would like to stay with Mo's mom, he knows he must do whatever it takes to save his friend even if it means giving up on his own plan.

Going's writing in Saint Iggy is phenomenal. The novel is written in exactly the way Iggy thinks, which makes it seem totally natural even though it is grammatically incorrect. This style of writing makes it feel like the reader is right there with Iggy, and deepens the connection between reader and protagonist. Even as it becomes obvious how things will ultimately end, the reader is still constantly pulling for Iggy to make the right decisions. The story also has a great anti-drug message, but Going never resorts to any sort of preaching.

Saint Iggy has all the makings of a young adult classic. It has many great messages, the story is gripping and unforgettable, and it is easy for teens to pick up and read. K. L. Going has really outdone herself this time.

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