Bancroft, Sept 2004, 23.95, 272 pp.
Seventeen year old Joel Karstan hopes to go to college on a baseball scholarship but he takes an unexpected time-out from playing when his jaw is broken when he is hit by a ball. After six weeks of having his jaw wired shut, the popular teen is hanging out at the Happy Snack convenience store when he realizes that the managers treats him and the other teens like garbage. With the help of his friend Todd Noland he organizes a boycott that grows bigger every day and finally attracts the attraction of television executive Annie McCullough.
She works for a rock Cable music station that makes gangsta rap seen like lullabies. She finds Kyle charismatic and believes he and his protest would play very well on her television station. Joel and his boycott grab the attention of teens across the nation who start boycotting stores that exploit teenagers as a demographic group. Todd and Joel's next project is getting their black history teacher elected to the white city council by getting the 18-23 age group to come out and vote. They prove that teenagers can make a difference.
Tom Matthews satirizes thing in a way that is simultaneously funny and sad. LIKE WE CARE is a story of two students who know how to play the system and make it work for them. Annie goes from executive flunky to detached observer to active participant. If teenagers ever truly organized they would have plenty of economic and political clout. This is a refreshingly original work that has a very special appeal to the younger crowd and anyone who remembers Wild in the Streets.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner