Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ashley and Tiana by Jessica Dreistadt

Ashley and Tiana

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ashley and Tiana is the story of two unlikely friends, Ashley Glazier and Tiana Thompson, who meet at summer camp in Pennsylvania during the summer of 1982. Tiana, who lives in the Bronx, is into Hip Hop and Ashley, who lives in Greenwich Village, is into punk rock. After an awkward meeting, they become best friends and learn that they, and their music, have a lot more in common than they first realized. Following a series of adventures, their summer culminates in the most highly anticipated and exciting event of their young lives. Ashley and Tiana is an inspirational, educational, and entertaining story for girls and boys of all ages about the value of friendship, persevering in the face of challenges, and embracing the everyday joys of life.

My thoughts:
I read this book online for free at This is the first non-picture book that I have read entirely on the computer. With my children I don’t often get the chance to sit down for long in front of the computer during the day, and by the time I do get a break at night I have too many other things that need my attention. I wasn’t sure if I would like seeing it on the screen rather than being able to hold it but it wasn’t as issue.

This book is written for young adults and is less than 100 pages long, so it read fairly quickly. Ashley and Tiana are two 12-year-old girls from New York who meet at a summer science camp in Pennsylvania. Tiana is African American and from the Bronx while Ashley is Jewish and from the Village. They become roommates and friends and teach each other about rap and punk music in 1981. Both girls have lost a parent and feel alone. They maintain their friendship even after they return to the city but aren’t sure how their parents react to their being friends.

I’m not really all that familiar with what music was being made or listened to in the early eighties, so many of the bands mentioned weren’t ones I could bring to mind songs for. It was neat how the characters had records to listen to and a boom box which added to the feeling of the 1980's. While I can see this book opening children’s eyes about both the differences and similarities we all share, I am not sure if current 12 year olds would relate well to the time references. While I like music, it has never been my passion so I wonder if I had been more into music if it would have added another element to my enjoyment .

Part of what made me decide to read this book is that they author is someone I went to school with. I think many of us dream of one day writing and publishing a book and I very happy for her that she has made this dream happen. It is inspiring to me to see her success. She has mentioned that she is working on another book and it will be interesting to see what the next one will be about.

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