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Darkness Before Dawn - Sharon M. Draper

Citation:

Draper, S. M. (2001). Darkness before dawn. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
 
Annotation:

He's a "lemon drop wrapped in licorice": tall, dark, handsome, and as smooth as his silk shirts and leather jacket. He can discuss everything from art to world events, he's traveled the world, and he owns a Jeep, a condo, and a jazz CD collection. But best of all, twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Hathaway, the new track coach and the principal's son, has his golden eyes set on Keisha Montgomery.

In her senior year of high school, still recovering from the suicide of her ex-boyfriend, Keisha's thrilled to have someone treat her like a woman rather than a girl. As Jonathan tells her, she's a butterfly ready to try her wings — much too mature for high school boys, whose only deep thoughts are words from rap songs. Jonathan makes her feel alive again; he seems like the answer to all her dreams and the cure to all her nightmares.

Gifts wrapped with silver ribbons begin to mysteriously appear on her doorstep, and Keisha is swept off her feet. But events take a terrifying turn, and suddenly darkness overwhelms her life.... As Keisha struggles to put her world back in perspective, she learns the power and the danger of silence, and discovers the secret gifts that had been waiting for her all along.

Written by the 1997 National Teacher of the Year, this is the final volume in the Hazelwood High trilogy.

 
Author's Information:

Sharon M. Draper is the acclaimed author of the Sassy series. She is also the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times bestsellers Copper Sun, the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award winner, and We Beat the Street. She also wrote Forged by Fire, the 1998 Coretta Scott King Award winner, as well as Tears of a Tiger, winner of the CSK/John Steptoe New Talent Award, and The Battle of Jericho and November Blues, both Coretta Scott King Honor Books.

Ms. Draper explains how she came to write the Sassy series. “Several years ago I met a little girl, an avid reader, who was about eight or nine years old,” she says. “Something was missing in the books available to her. She wasted no time in telling me, ‘You need to write some books for girls like me!’ Sassy was born that day. I wanted to create a little girl with both spunk and sparkle, a child with grace and glitter. Sassy and her seemingly bottomless sack are ready to greet the world with power and pizzazz!”

Ms. Draper is also a professional educator. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year and was selected as Ohio’s Outstanding High School Language Arts Educator and Ohio Teacher of the Year. She holds three honorary doctorates.

She has been honored at the White House six times and was chosen as one of only four authors in the nation to speak at the Library of Congress National Book Festival Gala in Washington, D.C., and to represent the United States in Moscow at their Russian Book Festival.

Ms. Draper is an accomplished public speaker who addresses educational and literary groups of all ages. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and a golden retriever named Honey.

 
Rewards: none
Grade Level: 9-12 Grade
Genre: Realistic fiction