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Crazy Diamond

by David Chotjewitz
Translated by Doris Orgel


Published by A Richard Jackson Book / Atheneum, 2008
252 pages
ISBN: 978-1416911760

Age 14 and older

This complex novel translated from the German tells the seemingly clichéd story of the rise and steep fall of a teenage pop star from humble beginnings, but there are many layers for readers who look beneath the surface. At age nine, she was smuggled into Germany from Croatia in her uncle’s amp case. Mira M., as she’s now know to her fans, writes lyrics that convey her wish to surpass generic stardom. But when her dead body is found, her tragedy seems like a familiar headline. The chapters are organized as “tracks” on a two-part CD, with music and music culture playing a prominent role in the text. The mystery surrounding Mira’s murder/suicide is explored through the perspectives of those who knew her best, in segments alternating between voices from the present and flashbacks. Melody, Rose, and Jackson are three who have differing thoughts on Mira’s life and death, in part due to their own tragic life stories of illegally emigrating from Ghana in a shipping container. With Mira, they grew up in and out of a homeless community, navigating a new life in Hamburg together. Also involved in the events leading up to Mira’s death is Kralle, a young woman whose relationship with the group is tenuous, and Zucka, the son of the record producer who “discovered” Mira. Doubt surfaces regarding the origins of Mira’s most famous lyrics in the eyes of her “frenemies,” exposing the heart of this multifaceted story about gains and losses of trust and identity.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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