PG-orange houses-web


Meet Tamika Sykes—Mik to her friends (if she had any). She’s hearing challenged and way too smart for her West Bronx high school. She copes by reading lips and selling homework answers, and looks forward to the time each day when she can be alone in her room drawing. She’s a tough girl who never gets close to anyone, until she meets Fatima, a teenage refugee who sells newspapers on Mik’s block. Both Mik and Fatima unite in their efforts to befriend Jimmi, a homeless vet who is shunned by the rest of the community. The events that follow when these three outcasts converge will break open their close-knit community and change the lives of those living in the Orange Houses in explosive and unexpected ways.

Penguin Dial Books 2009



ALA Top 10 Best Books Young Adults 2009
Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2009
International Reading Association 2010 Notable Books for a Global Society
Texas Tayshas reading list 2010
Amelia Bloomer Project 2010
British Fantasy Award Top 10 of 2010
Richie’s Picks Best of 2009
Georgia Peach Book Awards Top 20 of 2010
Pennsylvania School Library Assoc. Top 40 of 2010
Kentucky Book Award 2010 Master List
Virginia Readers Choice List 2011-2012
Florida Assoc. Media in Education Top 15 of 2011/12
2010 Honor Book, Once Upon a World Book Award, Simon Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance and Human Dignity


* “A hard-hitting and lyrical novel that opens with a hanging.  The prose is gorgeous and resonant, packing this slim novel with defeats, triumphs, moments of rare beauty and a cast of credible, skillfully drawn characters.  A moving story of friendship and hope.”  – Publishers Weekly, starred review

* “Crushing, unnerving and honest.  Griffin clearly knows teens, especially the way they speak.  Readers will be floored by the turns in this swift, tense, and powerful book.”
– Booklist, starred review

* “…lures his audience with authentic dialogue, an uncompromising take on harsh realities, and his characters’ heroic determination to save, if not themselves, then at least each other. A rich smorgasbord of themes demands provocative classroom discussion about bullying, war, illegal immigration, and last but so not least, friendship.”  – VOYA’s Perfect Ten, starred, 5/5 P, 5/5 Q

“A gorgeously realized, deeply felt meditation on the interplay among art, beauty and friendship in lives beset by cruelty and injustice.”
– Junior Library Guild, featured selection, High Interest High School category