Book Review: He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
by Rachel Pyfrom

Genre: Romantic Dramadey
Book summary: Beauty and Brains meets the blown-up Braun. Omar “T-Diddy” Smalls is named the high school Mr. Football of North Carolina. The biggest question in his mind is “what college will I pledge to?” AND “when will Kim finally let me take her to bed?” That is until he meets Claudia Clarke who has recently been infuriated with the budget cuts the new governor has imposed. With the intent of enjoying her for one night, Omar joins forces with Claudia, who seems to be an enchanting enigma, and gets the whole student body of West Charleston High to rally against these unseeming losses. Claudia is shocked at Omar’s new found philanthropic passion (she refuses to call him T-Diddy) and internally she has confused feelings toward him.  Walls of defense built all around Claudia’s heart, Omar’s corny pick-up, his new nickname for her, “homegirl”, and his relentless pursuit for her and this rally fill the first stage of their relationship.

Then, her tire pops. No one to call but Omar after just arguing with him for getting too comfortable with her while dancing. On this freezing cold night, Omar changes her tire and convinces her into a walk on the beach. That night, with numb bodies, they have some moments of passionate love. But, Omar still has not “scored.” Blu McCantes, Claudia’s independent, “don’t-care-what-people-think” best friend is the first to notice Claudia’s change in heart. Walls begin to tear down, and secrets that not even Blu know about resurface into her mind. It sparks a new stage where Claudia never denies but never verbalizes her feelings to Omar, but he realizes. And, when they are interrupted by Claudia’s enraged past lover, Omar storms out embarrassed. Minutes later, Claudia is at Omar’s front door, then in his bedroom with a candle lit, and he scores, but not in the way he and his crew were betting on. She reveals it all, and with tears dripping down her face, Claudia becomes his girlfriend.

Stage 3: Romantic bliss. Claudia’s birthday is here and Omar plans the perfect night for her, with activities that only the two would understand the thoughtfulness behind. But Claudia receives a birthday present she didn’t expect: the end of their relationship. A HUGE scandal erupts that night and Facebook is hot with likes of a video of Mr. T-Diddy and a girl. Furious, they enter stage 4: termination of their love. Not only must Claudia deal with this detrimental embarrassment and anger, but also, their silent rally at school has her and Omar both under extreme watch of the principal’s eyes. Their record is threatened, and things get taken to an extreme level when North Carolina public high schools rally on the steps of the Council Building. BOOM! A gunshot. Directed towards the 12 students at the top of the stairs, including Blu, Omar, and Claudia. Who is hit? Is the end of the beauty and the braun?

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