Josh Farrar, A Song For Bijou, fiction
Published three years after Haiti's catastrophic earthquake, an event that plays a pivotal role in Josh Farrar's latest book, A Song for Bijou (Walker Books/Bloomsbury) is a funny, touching chronicle of young love in the multicultural setting of a contemporary middle school. Minus today's reality-show hype, this effervescent story acts as an excellent tool for parents and teachers alike to help kids deal with their adolescent emotions in our diverse society.
Josh Farrar has written a story of middle-school first crushes that also gives readers an intimate look at a Haitian-American immigrant experience that has been woefully underrepresented in both adult and children's contemporary fiction. A fun, breezy read punctuated by scenes of celebratory music and dancing, A Song for Bijou heartwarmingly depicts the efforts of a multicultural group of friends in Brooklyn, New York to understand the mysteries of the opposite sex, and the complexities of the world they live in. Told in alternating viewpoints against the vibrant backdrop of Haitian-American culture, the author's lead characters, Alex Schrader and Bijou Doucet, take their first tender steps toward love in this affecting story.
Life for Alex has never involved girls. Attending an all-boys prep school, most of his time is spent clowning around with his friends. But that all changes the first time he sets eyes on Bijou, a beautiful Haitian girl who relocated to Brooklyn after the earthquake, and he is determined to win her heart. Bijou, on the other hand, is surprised daily by how different life is in America. After Alex asks her out, he quickly learns there are rules when it comes to girls, both in Haitian culture and with his own friends. And Bijou discovers she doesn't have to let go of her roots to find joy in her new life.
A Song for Bijou is a realistic depiction of a group of regular, good kids negotiating the complex business of growing up. The second novel by author Josh Farrar, the novel has been praised as an "enjoyable, seriocomic tale of new love, Culture Clash, adolescent social stratification and friendship...a solid, timely effort," by Kirkus Reviews. Farrar's first book, Rules to Rock By, was called by School Library Journal a "spirited, never-say-die story about a girl and her dream...Farrar's first novel hits home about tween life, especially among the creative set, and for anyone who has ever been bullied."