Cover image for Sister Slam and the poetic motormouth roadtrip
Sister Slam and the poetic motormouth roadtrip
High, Linda Oatman.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury Children's Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
256 pages ; 21 cm
In this novel told in slam verse, best friends and aspiring poets Laura and Twig embark on a road trip after graduating from high school, from Pennsylvania to New York City, to compete at slam poetry events.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.9 3.0 79341.
Format :


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Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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I was smitten,
by a love bug
or something.

I didn't
even care
that I'd
just been hit.

I was in deep

Laura Crapper, a seventeen-year-old combat-boot-wearing poet with spiked red hair, renames herself Sister Slam and hits the road with her best friend, Twig. On the way to a slam poetry contest in New Jersey, they hit a pig, get pulled over by the cops, fight with one of the judges, lose the contest, get into two more fender benders, fight with each other, and finally land on the front page of a New York City newspaper for their amazing impromptu performance at the famous Tavern on the Green. The girls and their fresh style of poetry take the city by storm, but when Laura's father back in Pennsylvania has a heart attack, she must face her fears about home and the still-raw loss of her mother. This inspiring romp of a coming-of-age story, written entirely in Laura's in-your-face slam poetry style, proves you don't have to give up your home to live your dream.

Author Notes

Linda Oatman High is an award-winning author of many books for children and young adults. Her book Barn Savers was an ALA Top of the List Best Picture Book, and Under New York was named a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Book and a Nick Jr. Best Book of the Year. She frequently offers writing workshops and enjoys visiting schools. Linda lives with her family in Pennsylvania.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8-12. Sister Slam, aka Laura Rose Crapper, and her best friend, Twig, give themselves a graduation present--a Poetic Motormouth Road Trip to compete in a poetry slam in Tin Can, New Jersey. They lose the slam, but they head for New York City, literally run into a beautiful guy named Jake, and take the New York slam scene by storm. They are an unlikely pair--fat, red-haired Sister Slam and Twig, as skinny as her name implies--on an unlikely whirlwind journey. But High makes everything work in this occasionally rhyming free-verse novel. Exceedingly clever, if not complex, this is a surprisingly sweet tale of a teenager who initially leaks pain all over the place, but gradually finds the strength and resourcefulness to Dream, Believe, Fly. --Frances Bradburn Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This ultra-hip Cinderella tale, written entirely in verse, introduces an unconventional, memorable heroine: overweight ("way past chunky/ In fact I was downright/ clown-white fat") Laura Rose Crapper, who dreams of becoming a famous poet. The 18-year-old is ready for a change after enduring four years of high school as a misfit ("My lame-brained name/ was my main claim to fame/ at Banesville High School,/ where I wasn't exactly in/ the cool group," she laments). In June, she changes her name to Sister Slam, and she and her best friend and fellow rapper Twig head out to show off their talents and, at the same time, attend "the so-cool/ School of Real Life." On their way to a slam poetry contest in Tin Can, N.J., the girls hit a pig with their car (it survives), get ticketed by the police and make enemies with a man who turns out to be one of the contest's judges. Ironically, the final disaster-getting in an accident that totals Laura's "old clunker car"-proves to be a fortuitous event, practically throwing Laura into the arms of a young man who turns out to be both her Prince Charming and Fairy Godmother. High (Barn Savers; Under New York) creates events and people bigger than life, yet readers will find some very genuine emotions hidden beneath Laura's loud, cynical front. Her transformation from outcast to superstar, lyrically captured through snappy rhymes, is satisfying as well as hilarious. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-A powerful main character and great premise are nearly defeated by the form of this novel in slam-verse. Just graduated from high school in nowheresville, Laura Crapper changes her name to Sister Slam and takes off with her friend Twig on a road trip to a poetry slam in Tin Can, NJ. A very lame experience there drives them on to New York City, where Sister Slam is certain they'll be appreciated. And they are: a car wreck with a cute rich guy on the Jersey Turnpike lands them an invitation to stay with his family at the Waldorf. A subsequent dinner performance at Tavern on the Green, overheard by an editor from the Village Voice, sets them on the fast track to fame and love. All this is told by Sister Slam in her inimitable voice. As they drive in to New York City: "It was a smorgasbord/of humanity/and profanity/slipped from my lips.//"Holy shit!/I never saw so/many different/races in the/same place!" This voice, sadly, wears thin, as the energy and freshness can't be sustained through the plot, characterization, and dialogue that a novel requires. Much of the dialogue comes off awkwardly, as everybody else sounds just like Sister Slam, and the verse in the slower sections turns bland. The fairy tale of a story teeters wildly over the edge of credibility-Francesca Lia Block fans might bring the right willingness with them, but they won't find the magic to carry them along. All that said, the character of Sister Slam-big, brash, naive, and completely winning-will stay with readers long after they've breezed their way through her galumphing and spotty story.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.