Author: Kamichi Jackson
Genre: Young Adult
Fifteen-year-old Kendra James’ life begins to spiral out of control with the return of her long-lost runaway sister Meisha, and the visit of a young celebrity uncle with questionable intentions. Things take a particular turn for the worse when that uncle exploits Kendra’s loneliness and untreated depression and makes a move on her that sends her world into a tailspin from which she’s not sure she’ll ever recover. Will she survive this tragedy…or will she hit rock-bottom before anyone even notices?
In addition to K My Name Is Kendra, Kamichi Jackson is the author of an eBook entitled Where Present Meets Past (originally available as part of the now-defunct Amazon Shorts Program), the middle reader book You’re Too Much, Reggie Brown, a forthcoming adult novel entitled The Brownstone, two unproduced screenplays, and several short stories. KJ has made numerous appearances in support of her work, among them the Baltimore Book Festival. When not writing, Kamichi is likely off somewhere singing karaoke. The South Norwalk, Connecticut native currently resides in Northern Virginia with family.
* * BOOK EXCERPT * *
I think someone is stalking me.
I say this, not because I’m paranoid, but because I’ve been seeing the same strange car outside my house almost every other day for the past two weeks. I haven’t told anyone but Nita about it. She thinks I should call the police or something, but what are they going to do? Whoever is inside the car hasn’t done or said anything to me, so what would I be reporting?
Of course that could change. I realize that today when I step outside onto the front steps of my school. This could be the afternoon that changes everything.
“What’s wrong?” Nita asks as I stop dead in my tracks, almost tripping this kid walking on my heels.
There it is again. The same black car with the tinted windows. I recognize it right away because it has two small dents in the back door and a bright red ball on the tip of the antenna. I still can’t see who is inside, and I can’t tell if the person is even looking my way, but it’s definitely the same car.
“What’s wrong?” Nita asks again. She looks across the street. “Is that it?” she asks and I nod.
“I need to know,” I say as I step down off the curb. The car starts to move forward and I wave and scream for it to stop. It does, and I keep running towards it, even though I hear Nita yelling behind me that I shouldn’t go. She catches up to me and pulls on my sleeve, yanking me back before I reach the car.
“Even three-year-olds know not to talk to strangers, Kendra!” she warns. “Come on, girl. Let’s go.”
I know she’s right and I sigh, letting her lead me away. There’s a buzzing noise behind us as we’re walking, and I can tell the driver is opening the window now.
“Keep going!” Nita whispers, her grip on me getting tighter.
All of a sudden I hear my name called out from behind me. Nita and I both stop. She looks at me. We turn at the same time and step forward a little bit towards the car. I hear ding ding ding as the door opens, and a lady’s leg—rockin’ the fiercest thigh-high boot I think I’ve ever seen in my life—hits the pavement, and then the rest of the woman slides out from behind the wheel.
“Who are you?” Nita asks her, not letting go of my arm.
“My name is Meisha,” the young woman replies to Nita, but she’s not looking at her. She’s looking straight at me.
“She’s my sister,” I add, my voice so low I can barely hear myself saying the words.
PRAISE FOR KENDRA
“This emotionally powerful novel gets right to the essence of what a young adult novel should be, empathetically exploring the experience of a teenage girl. Kendra is dealing with depression, the social dynamics of the black community, family problems, and abuse, yet holding on to a core of optimism that will help her become a strong and successful adult. Kendra is the first member of her family to reconnect with her missing sister, Meisha, who ran away a decade earlier. Meisha’s return puts a strain on the family when the reason behind her departure is finally revealed. Kendra’s talent and strong desire to be a writer bring the attention of her English teacher, but this also leaves her vulnerable to her famous sports announcer uncle, CJ. Desperate for attention, Kendra ignores the warning signs; CJ gains her confidence and offers her a laptop to use in his apartment. The abuse that follows is not described in detail and is not the only defining point for the character. An excellent read for any girl who feels misunderstood, or for readers that remember what it felt like to be confused and hurt, but hopeful as they moved toward adulthood.”
–Publishers Weekly (as part of the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition)
This book is for 15 year olds, parents of 15 year olds, friends of 15 year olds and for those who know a 15 year old. It touches on very real issues that young adults encounter and the conflict that ensues. This book is captivating and meaty yet an easy read. This is not your average, predictable young adult novel but a layered, well executed story that illicit illumination through the heavy darkness felt by depression. Well done!
–S. Jones (Amazon.com Customer Review)