A Song for Bijou
By Josh Farrar
Published 2013 by Walker Childrens
Alex goes to an all-boys school, limiting his contact with girls - which has been just fine with him. Until now. Because now, Alex has met Bijou - a Haitian girl who has recently relocated to the area - and he really wants to get to know her better.
I requested an e-galley of this pretty much based on the cover - it has a very sweet, Pixar-ish vibe that I couldn't resist. I don't generally read straight-up romances, but apparently, this is something I need to read more of - the tween girls at my library clamor for anything romantic and girly. This book is great because it tells the romance from both points of view - we don't often get the romance from a guy's point of view. It works extremely well here. I like this book because it's very realistic - it truthfully shows the painful awkwardness of a first crush, a first attempt at moving from friends to a relationship.
I like that Alex is pretty clueless for most of the book - he knows almost nothing about Bijou's culture and this causes some hiccups in their developing relationship. I thought Farrar did a great job portraying the Haitian culture - admittedly, I don't know terribly much about it myself, but his author's note provides some insights. I like that he made a conscious decision to have Bijou be from a middle-class family - having recently read In Darkness (review to come), I had some qualms about the portrayal of Haiti in that book.
This is not a perfect book, though - the secondary characters tend to blend together and the "bad guys" are pretty generic middle school mean kids. But, this is a sweet story with an innocent romance and a very appealing cover, so I imagine it will be relatively popular in my library.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via NetGalley.