Books to Watch Out For: Kendra by Coe Booth

Tyrell might be one of my favorite YA novels of all time, so you can imagine my joy when I opened a box from Scholastic that contained Coe Booth‘s second novel, Kendra, coming in October.’  For those worried about a sophomore slump, I have one word for you:’  Don’t.’  Kendra is every bit as raw and thought-provoking as Tyrell was, even though the voices sound very different.

Like Tyrell, Kendra takes place in the Bronx, and the themes of family and loyalty are just as prominent.’  Kendra lives in the Bronxwood projects with her grandmother.’  She barely sees her mother Renee, who had Kendra at fourteen.’  Rather than drop out of school or get married, Renee committed herself wholly to her schoolwork and has just earned a PhD from Princeton.’  In her pursuit of academic success, however, she has ignored Kendra, who has been raised by her grandmother, Renee’s mother.’  Now fourteen, Kendra’s sexuality is beginning to emerge but because of her grandmother’s strict, almost puritanical rules about what Kendra can do, who she can talk to, what she can wear, etc., Kendra has some very mixed ideas about sex and love.’  She likes one boy at school, sort of, but she’s hooking up with another, another who is already seeing Kendra’s closest friend.’  Kendra’s not stupid.’  She has goals and ambitions and interests.’  What she needs is guidance, something she’s not getting from the adults in her life who are supposed to be there for her.

Kendra is not about sex, it’s about sexuality.’  It’s not about absent mothers, it’s about the importance of family and adult mentors in the life of a teen.’  It’s not about hooking up, it’s about navigating the many unwritten rules about sex and relationships.’  Coe Booth has remarkable talent, and this layered, thoughtful novel showcases it perfectly.

About Carlie Webber

YA Services Librarian for the Bergen County Cooperative Library System in Hackensack, NJ. Devoted to classic rock, vintage jewelry, and two adorable cats.
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34 Comments

  1. I had the opportunity to meet Coe Booth at a Book Festival and she is one of the greatest people I have met!!! “Tyrell” is a book that captures your heart and mind! I can’t wait to read Kendra and be able to tell people all about it!!!!

  2. I read Kendra on the plane home from conference. I thought it was great and was rooting so hard for Kendra. I was surprised (and pleased!) by the ending. I also thought it was a really interesting aspect to have Kendra’s mother “succeed” by graduating with a degree from Princeton after having a baby at 14, but being completely unsuccessful at being a good parent. So many things to think about in this novel…

  3. I loved the book Tyrell..I cant wait to read the other book and it sounds like it mite be similar to Tyrell but I really love your work and I think that you should keep writting….

    Tiffany R. G. (0203)

  4. I too loved Kendra. It actually makes me tear up just thinking about the character. Kendra is going to be a big award winner this year, I’ll just go ahead and declare that now.

  5. I REALLY LIKE THE BOOK TYRELL INFACT I CAN RELATE TO HIS LIFESTYLE IN SOME WAYS AND I REALLY THINK THAT TYRELL SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE I LIKE THE BOOK CAUSE ITS JUST SO INTERESTING AND I JUST CANT STOP READING IT RIGHT NOW I AM ON CHAPTER28 AND BEEN READING IT SINCE LAST WEEK THATS HOW GOOD IT IS BUT ONCE I FINISH TYRELL IN A FEW DAYS I WILL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO READING KENDRA

  6. I liked Tyrell but
    Man
    No sex?
    lol just playin.
    I plan on reading this book.

  7. i cant wait to get a copy of kendra.i read tyrell in one day.tryell is the frist book i ever read from cover to cover.i never read a novel all the way through.but wit tyrell i couldnt put the book down.i really think TYRELL SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE.i would go see it 3 times.and then buy it on dvd.tryell is one of my all time favorites

  8. i lik dat jawn tyrell,dat jawn was hot and it taught me a lesson,i didnt read kendra yet,but i might read it,i kno its gonna be good and i kno thats gonna teach a lesson too,u a good writer and all but you can limit da cursin down some,but if tyrell was made into a movie i wuld difinetly go see it,definetly, peace

  9. omg. i read tyrell in one day , i couldnt stop reading that book.
    im getting kendra real soon ! cant wait !

  10. i plan on reading this book soon
    ahaha my name is kendra
    i was so suprised when i saw it..
    and shes black like me

  11. omg i just finished tyrell i love it its now the best book i ever read in my life and i cant wait to read kendra. i have friend name kendra 🙂 angain i realy love this book its great love it love it love it

  12. I hope she makes more than just two books because i will read them all. tyrell got to me made me see things that i never thought was true . cant wait to read kendra hope its just as exciding as tyrell my fav part was when they through the party and his gurl friend finally admitted what she had done at band camp!!!!!!!!

  13. i just got done reading tyrell and i loved da book,but i wanted 2 know wat happend 2 tyrell brother troy,and his mom, and novishia, and did tryell ever go back 2 school. are u going 2 cum out with a tyrell part 2 or something.and dat kendra book my sister got dat book i might have 2 still it from her and check it out lol. but i just want 2 know wat 2 next in the book.

  14. I really like this book Kendra
    It only took me 3 days to read that’s how much i like it
    It’s a very interesting book and it talk about mostly friendship….and sex
    I feel like i know the characters really well like they’re family now or something lol
    I was surprised t all the drama in the book and the outcome at the end
    and now this is my favorite book.
    I have read Tyrell also that’s what made me get the book Kendra
    I was wondering is Tyrell the same person in the book Kendra who is DJ-‘ing
    && also I was wondering Is…
    Ms.Jenkins who was at the block party cooking the same woman who is Novisha’s mother in the book Tyrell

    I Love Both the Book’s ‘Tyrell’ && ‘Kendra’

  15. p.s.
    && both books should be into movies *_*

  16. I read “Tyrell” is was the best book i have read in a long time. Actually that was the first book i had read since last yr. [ 08 ] & i told all my friends to read it. They also loved it !!! Im lookin forward to going to go buy the book “Kendra” & reading that i read the excerpt and have to say it definatly sounds interesting. Please write some more books. & thank you so much for keeping me entertained. I love your books & i know as long as you keep writing ima keep buyin em ~!

    🙂

  17. I just finished reading kendra and i only had da book 4 1 day i couldn’t put it down it was lik “my crack” so my cousin says. Coe booth is the best writer ever and i loved both books she wrote. When the cequel to “Tyrell” comes out I am going to go crazy over that book. I might finish that one in a day. You have to read all of Coe Booth books they are amazing. Some parts even made me cry a little. I hope one day I can meet her. This is a most read book.

  18. i love kendra book soo muchhhhhhhh i wish their is part 2
    also i love tyrell but i love kendra 100% .i wish their is part 2 because i want to now what happen with her and renne , nana, nasham, . when i was reading kendra i fell like to be in the book. coe booth you are my favorite author and you the best.

  19. he coe i just finished kendra it is a good book i loved it so muchhhhhhh i can relate to her how she was going through and makes me learn of to just how to deal with it you did a good job on the book you should keep on going i am now your number one fan keep on the good work and dont give up. i wanna read more of your book, your book has a strong message when you put your words and your hard work into it good job

  20. make another book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    make another book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    make another book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    plz

  21. Ive Read Kendra An Tyrell Both Very Good Books Cant wait For the next book

  22. ayy!! omg i luved both Kendra and Tyrell and ill admit it i cried after both of them . i researched and saw there will a sequel to tyrell i hop ethere is one to kendra as well.!!!!!

  23. hi im still young and i was at the store lookin for a book and i picked thr book tyrell up and i just fell in love with the book and im not even much of a reader but i am now cause of the books you make you have a talent go head girl you inspier me

  24. can you tell me some quote by kendra,nashawn.renee,adonna.darnell,kenny e.t.c

  25. i love ur book tyrell
    soooooo much that words can not explan
    i checkd it out at ma skool libary
    the 1st thng that came too ma mind was i dnt
    read thn i had heard about that book
    n decided too take it when i
    read it makes me happy u made me more into books
    thank you alot ima about too read ur new book in a lil bit i just checkd that
    one out kant wait too finish it
    well ma idea iz gurl keep
    writeing book
    because u kan do it better than any body else i love it gurl
    keep doin what ur doin
    [*Brian*]♥♥

  26. i love ur book tyrell
    soooooo much that words can not explan
    i checkd it out at ma skool libary
    the 1st thng that came too ma mind was i dnt
    read thn i had heard about that book
    n decided too take it when i
    read it makes me happy u maded me more into books
    thank you alot ima about too read ur new book in a lil bit i just checkd that
    one out kant wait too finish it
    well ma idea iz gurl keep
    writeing book
    because u kan do it better than any body else i love it gurl
    keep doin what ur doin
    [*Brian*]♥♥

  27. i loved kendra soo much! it was one of the best books i ever read. i couldnt put it down. and alot of the moments were nail biting it was crazy, i loved it though and please MAKE ANOTHER ONE dont leave me hanging!!!!

  28. I really don’t like reading but we my teacher haded “Tyrell” i really got drown into this book right away i was amazed what i was reading and now i looking forward to reading more Coe Booth books i love them

  29. i love tyrelll awesome book i would love to read a sequel of tyrell 2 or sumthing lol..well im deff doing pick up kendra…

  30. i love tyrelll awesome book i would love to read a sequel of tyrell 2 or sumthing lol..well im deff going to pick up kendra…

  31. tyrell was i beast lol

  32. i have readtryell an its a good book i need to get thz book it sounds preatty good i just hope that
    u mak a part 2,2 tryell what happn between novisha? What when did his dad get out need a [part] [2]!!!!!

  33. that was the best book i have every read there needs to be a tyrell 2 and yeah im getting kendra

  34. plz oh plz make a tyrell to i need to know what happens to novisha every body makes mistakes and what about troy and his dad and cal babby the mexican girl needs to get a life plz plz plz plz make tyrell 2 plz plz plz plz plz I LOVE YA BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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