Cover image for Split image : a story in poems
Split image : a story in poems
Glenn, Mel.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper Collins, [2000]

Physical Description:
159 pages ; 19 cm
A series of poems reflect the thoughts and feelings of various people--students, the librarian, parents, the principal, and others--about the seemingly perfect Laura Li and her life inside and out of Tower High School.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.6 2.0 39886.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.3 5 Quiz: 22872 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.L447 S65 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Everyone has an image of Laura Li, the most popular girl in school: "stone hearted", "warmhearted", "conceited deceiver", "humble achiever", "a virgin", "the hottest girl in the world".

Award-winning poet Mel Glenn weaves a brilliant web of authentic voices in this riveting story, told in poetry, about what happens when one teenage girl is denied the freedom to determine her own identity.

2001 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA) and Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 9^-12. This series of sharply focused vignettes in verse, resembling a kaleidoscope more than a split image, centers on Chinese American high-school student Laura Li, stunning, smart, and rebellious, who is chafing under her mother's tight rein and her obligations to her disabled older brother. Each poem takes the point of view and the voice of one character: Laura herself, her mother, her father, and her brother; Ms. Binder, the-high school librarian; Alejandro, who loves Laura; Tyesha, Lana, Yana, and Amy, girls who see Laura as friend, rival, and enemy. These voices and others, from teachers to drug dealers, work like acid on copperplate to etch the outlines of Laura's life: her feverish weekend escapes into bars; her weekday refuge working in the library. The final tragedy, Laura Li's suicide (in the library), is a personal blow to the characters who have reacted to, defined, and described the troubled girl. Written with raw immediacy, this will touch teens deep down. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-This novel is about stereotypes, misconceptions, and public vs. private personas. The central figure is Laura Li, an immigrant from China whose life revolves around Tower High School and her family responsibilities. Her businessman father is never around and, in speaking to her mother, the girl says, "-Mother, I will do anything you ask,/To prove that a second-born/Can take first place in your heart." She wonders where to turn for an identity, a purpose. In another selection, she states, "I think God has an answering machine./He's never home, though,-./In the meantime, I wonder,/Does He ever check His messages?" The poems and dialogue exchanges, many of which take place in the library, provide glimpses of classmates, faculty, and family, and all offer insights into Laura Li's life, as well as the life the others think she leads. The action is easy to follow, and although there are too many characters for any of them to be developed in much depth, their entries help to flesh out the story line. The narrative shifts gears several times, and readers may be caught off guard by the teen's suicide. A powerful look at perceptions and what lies behind them.-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.