Cricket Promises by Keturah Israel

Remember the tumultuous years of growing up? The swirl of emotions and the new feelings? The anticipation of those "coming of age" moments like first bras, first periods, and first kisses? Remember feeling like you would just ddddddiiiiiieeee if that boy didn't carry your books between classes, if your friends didn't like your new outfit - even if it wasn't the designer duds, or if you were always left a wall flower because you weren't pretty enough?  Remember challenging your parents because you were no longer a little darling but were staring to have opinions of your own and thought you were just grown enough to express those opinions, to test those boundaries? Remember thinking your parents were too strict and not fair if they didn't let you do something your friends were doing?

If you remember any of those things, then Cricket Promises is a great visit back to those tender moments of your young teenage years.

I found myself, in the throws of a school board election, longing to have time to just sit and read, my time with Cricket Promises stretched through speeches, forums, and advertising meetings with my campaign manager.  In the middle of it all, I had this sweet gem of a book tucked into my briefcase for stolen moments to step into the lives of Eve and her sister Genesis, her parents, and her friends.

The setting felt very familiar to me, the time felt like the generation when I grew up when parents were ok with children walking over to a friend's house and when cell phones were limited to the Jetson's.  It was a time of newness and a time of discovery, a time that will never come again.

Cricket PromisesKeturah's writing is gentle and new, a bit simplistic, but then it is written as a 13-14 year old girl, in her voice, and she does an honest rendering of what she would have thought from her confusing feelings for her friend Rachel to her excitement about her first boyfriend Angel to the demons she fought through mental illness.

Have you ever bared your heart and soul with your best friend, believing and knowing that at least there was one person in the world who understood you, who knew you, and who loved you for yourself? I felt that while reading this book and immediately found myself back in Jefferson City, MO and Benton Township, MI experiencing my coming-of-age all over again.

Israel offers us a gift, as well, with her entry into the self-published and self-promoted writing by black women.  She has taken the courage to own her character and fully develop them without the hypersexualized covers or storyline promoted by the majority-owned publishing houses.  Keturah deals with sensitive subject matter in an honest, open, and thoughtful manner.  I knew the stories and the scenes she depicted without the need for the graphic language or gratuitous scenes.

This was an enjoyable little book that is being share with women across the country.  She doesn't provide a reading guide for book clubs and as such, invites  you, the reader, to step inside the many nuggets of truth and discover the deeper meaning of keeping that promise.

I want my daughter to read this book and will hold it on the shelf for her a while so she can be a little older and not feeling like she is being naughty for the bad language.  Israel does not use foul language to be shocking, but writes as an urban teen and perhaps some of the language they use around their peers, but never around adults.  She allows her young protagonist to develop fully as a character and as a person, giving us glimpses into the triad story told through Eve's voice.

You are invited to step into this story and hear her what she has to say.


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