How Ya Like Me Now by Brendan Halpin

How Ya Like Me Now
by Brendan Halpin

Eddie has plenty of painful problems in his life: his father is dead, his mother is in drug rehab, and he has been sent to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, where he has to start over as a new student in a multi-racial school in downtown Boston.  The Francis Abernathy Center for Urban Education (or FA-CUE, as the students prefer to call it), is modeled after a corporation, with a CEO instead of a principal, an "advisory" instead of a homeroom, business casual attire for associates (students), and coursework centered on a demanding marketing project.  Eddie and his cousin Alex are two of the only white students in the school, and shy Eddie has to learn to master the art of the fast-paced, in-your-face, often racially based, good natured insults the students constantly trade with one another, as well as console Alex through his crush on Vietnamese-American Hanh and survive his own crush on African-American Tanya.  Before long, Eddie has come into his own at FA-CUE and dreads returning to his troubled life with the mother he both hates and loves.  (Reading Level 5.8)