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More Than Good Enough
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More Than Good Enough
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Half native. Half white.One hundred percent nothing. My mom doesn’t want me. My dad just got out of jail. They want me to go live with him on the reservation, in the Everglades. Trouble is, everybody...
Half native. Half white.One hundred percent nothing. My mom doesn’t want me. My dad just got out of jail. They want me to go live with him on the reservation, in the Everglades. Trouble is, everybody...
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  • Half native. Half white.
    One hundred percent nothing.

    My mom doesn’t want me. My dad just got out of jail. They want me to go live with him on the reservation, in the Everglades. Trouble is, everybody there just ignores me.

    At least I get to work with Pippa on my film project at school. We used to be friends when we were like twelve. Now that we’re hanging out again it’s like old times—except she’s way cuter.

    The thing is, I don’t belong anywhere. I don’t fit in on the rez, and I suck at school. My dad thinks I’m an idiot, but Pippa thinks I’m all good.

    I don’t know what to think. Am I bad news or am I more than good enough?

     Praise:
    Florida Book Award Medalist, 2014

    “Powerful and satisfying.”—Geoff Herbach, author Nothing Special, winner of the 2013 Minnesota Book Award for Young People’s Literature

    "[C]ompelling and emotionally nuanced."—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author-

  • Crissa-Jean Chappell is the author of Total Constant Order (HarperTeen, 2007), which earned a bronze medal from the Florida Book Awards, received a VOYA "Perfect Ten," and was named a New York Public Library "Book for the Teen Age." She holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in literature, film theory, and philosophy from the University of Miami, as well as an MFA in screenwriting. Her reviews, short stories, and poems have appeared in many magazines, including Confrontation, Tatlins Tower, Broken Wrist Project, and the Southwest Review. For more than eight years, Chappell wrote a weekly film column for the Miami Sun-Post. The author lives in New York. Visit her online at CrissaJeanChappell.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 21, 2013
    Trent Osceola sees himself as “half native, half white, and one hundred percent nothing.” His dad bailed out when Trent was 10, and now that he’s 17 and flunking out of the arts school his musical talent got him into, his mother dumps him back with his ex-con father on the Miccosukee reservation. Trent’s new public school reunites him with his childhood best friend Pippa, all grown up and very attractive, who gets Trent involved in making movies. But being on the Rez is complicated: Trent isn’t sure he belongs, and his father is an angry drunk. The details about life on the Miccosukee reservation—close to Miami, but a world apart—are interesting, but Chappell (Narc) piles on the difficulty, both upping the grimness quotient and reiterating it, especially when it comes to Trent’s father. When, in the last quarter of the novel, potential caretakers appear, it raises the question of where they were before, along with the suspicion that Chappell withheld them to allow things to get really bad before turning them around. Ages 13–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2013
    A bright biracial teen on a downward spiral moves in with his alcoholic father on Florida's Miccosukee reservation. A gifted bass player, Trent, 17, has been ejected from his music magnet school and is failing in public school until he runs into Pippa, the loyal friend he hasn't seen since middle school. They team up on a class filmmaking project: documenting each other's home lives. Pippa becomes his anchor in a sea of troubles: an untrustworthy sometime-girlfriend, neglectful English immigrant mother, and abusive, alcoholic father, recently released from prison. Trent's misery, though tinged with self-pity, is compelling and emotionally nuanced, and amplified by the closely observed Everglades setting, it has a moody power. "Dad grew up on the Rez. He had to move out once he hooked up with Mom, who is one hundred percent London hippie chick," Trent says. "That makes me half native, half white, and one hundred percent nothing." In fact, it makes him the updated, YA version of the tragic mulatto: an ancient mixed-race stereotype that refuses to die. Discovering and embracing his missing Miccosukee family and heritage sets Trent on the path to wholeness (and tribal membership, evidently bypassing actual Miccosukee tribal-enrollment requirements). His complicated white heritage, including the status and privileges it still confers, remains invisible, unexamined and unintegrated. An atmospheric, if downbeat, character portrait. (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2014

    Gr 8 Up-Trent Osceola has been kicked out of his fine-arts magnet school after failing all of his exams because he never went to class. His father has just gotten out of prison for writing bad checks, and his mother, disgusted with her son's academic performance, kicks him out of the house and tells him to live with his father on the Miccosukee reservation. Life there is rough; his father is either drunk or making protein health/body-building drinks. Although he could go to school on the Rez, the teen decides to attend the public high school in the zone of his mother's address. On his first day there, he recognizes the girl doing the announcements on the morning show as his best friend growing up, Pippa. Hoping to reconnect with her, he talks his way into a film class she is taking and becomes her partner for a class project on their lives. Trent desperately wants to have a relationship with her; to recapture the ease of what they had as children, but his self-destructiveness and his disturbed life on the Rez stand in the way. What could have been an interesting novel about a half-Native teen adapting to life on the Rez, one foot in and one out of the culture, has few elements to distinguish it from any other book about a young male from a broken family who is uninterested in school. His musical talent is mentioned but never pursued, as is the film project. Too much time is spent in the setup and the ending is rushed, giving short shrift to what should have been the focus of the novel-the film project and Trent's acceptance of his heritage.-Suanne B. Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2014
    Grades 8-11 Figuring out what he wants from life and where he belongs is no easy task for Trent, especially when he goes to live with his dad on a reservation in the Florida Everglades. The half-Miccosukee teen doesn't feel connected to tribal life, and his father, newly released from jail and a drunk, isn't helping. The only bright spot in Trent's life is his reunion with his childhood friend Pippa. Luckily, between the creative push he receives when working with her on a film for school and the acceptance he feels from one tribe elder, his world starts to turn around. Trent's confusion feels genuine, and he stumbles along in ways teens will recognize as embarrassingly realistic, especially when he hooks up with an ex whose on-again, off-again interest in him is anything but healthy. Another plus: Chappell renders the atmosphere of sweltering, swampy south Florida in all its grittiness, giving the novel a unique flavor. This is one for teens looking for a story that reflects real struggles rather than fantastical plot lines.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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