NEW ventures are one of the many inevitable events in life. Though they provide new opportunities and life lessons, there is always some amount of anxiety that we all face when it is time for the first step.
Many of us can remember what our first year in high school was like, how nervous we felt about the unknown circumstances that we would face. Where novels are concerned, Coop Clan is one which depicts this phenomenon and so much more.
The Coop Clan, penned by Kerine Miller, the producer of the Children's pantomime and founder of the Greatness Exists in Me (GEM) Movement in Jamaica, was released in December 2012.
It is Jamaica's own young-adult novel written by a Jamaican about Jamaicans and set in Jamaica (basically a Jamaican Sweet Valley High).
Written in the third-person narrative, the novel presents five young girls embarking on their high school journey. These five very different girls all stem from different backgrounds, and as time progresses, they learn more about the things they have in common and form a close-knit friendship based on their similarities, rather than using their differences to separate them. Each girl has insecurities and they are all nervous about how they will make it through this new journey in unfamiliar territory.
The main characters Tassea, Tiffany, Danielle, Shari, and Melissa are all unique in their own right, each from different background.
Tassea Beckford is from inner-city Kingston and is very smart. As such, got top grades in her GSAT exams and secured a scholarship to a traditional high school. Tassea's issue to overcome is fitting into a school where there are not many persons from the inner city, while trying to avoid the stereotypes that are placed on people from the 'ghetto'.
Tiffany Metcalfe is wealthy and her father is a part of the school's board. She is used to getting her own way and has somewhat of a little rebellious nature. Feeling abandoned by her very busy, career-driven parents, Tiffany has to work on shunning the bitterness stirred by her family problems.
Danielle Matthews is the athletic one, and is used to having many friends. Starting this new journey she has to learn to put bitter friendships and her parent's divorce behind her and focus on making the best of her high school experience.
Shari Salmon is the 'fluffy' diva who has a big personality, but feels insecure about her weight so she has to learn to be confident in her body and that physical appearance does not define who you are and what you can achieve as a person.
Melissa Dixon is the shy, 'baby' of the group. She has to overcome her overwhelming shyness in order to step out of her shell and realise her true potential.
The author addresses various issues in this novel that young persons face from time to time and utilises the characters to illustrate how TEENs can overcome these challenges. The novel is easy to relate to as it is written about something that we all have faced at some point and the author also keeps the language simple so it is easy to read and understand.
We look forward to more in the series.
— Shanique Hayden