Frost, Helen. Keesha's House. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.
Keesha's house is not actually her house. It is a safe house owned by a guy named Joe in an urban setting. He opens his house to kids who have a need to sleep somewhere safe. Teenagers who have had to run away from their homes. Keesha is the one who tells her friends in school about the house when they need somewhere to stay. The story is about seven characters. Each character has a problem and needs Keesha's house at this time in their teenage life. Each poem is written in a particular form of poetry called sesina or sonnet.
Lisa Johannes states " The situations are real and prevalent in society, and even though they're sometimes uncomfortable to talk about and read about". The poems tell of the problems of seven teenagers. The problems include teenage pregnancy and how it effects the girl and the boy, DUI, parents throwing their child out when they find out they are gay, the foster care system and an abusive stepfather. The book tells how a teenager feels about the decisions they have made and why they need a safe place to stay. The poems are easy to read and they flow so well that you will not realize you are reading a poem that is set to rules. After reading the rules for sonnets and sestinas I am amazed that Frost could do this with all of the poems. The stories are all weaved together well because everyone of the characters must know Keesha.
Strengths & Weaknesses:
The strengths of this novel are the characters are interesting and realistic. The poems are easy to read.
"Frost has taken the poem-story to a new level with well-crafted sestinas and sonnets, leading readers into the souls and psyches of her teen protagonists...engaging." -- Starred, School Library Journal
"Spare, eloquent, and elegantly concise." -- VOYA
"This moving first novel tells the story in a series of dramatic monologues that are personal, poetic, and immediate." -- Booklist
"Impressive." -- Kirkus Reviews
"this moving first novel tells the story in a series of dramatic monologues that are personal, poetic, and immediate, with lots of line breaks that make for easy reading, alone or in readers' theater." Booklist
"Teens may read this engaging novel without even realizing they are reading poetry." School Library Journal
2004 Printz Honor Book