Website designed by Jennifer Matias for Charlene Allen
I write about the things I love. Which means:
I write about books
Here’s a book review I wrote of The Summer Prince, a beautiful, truly original young adult fantasy by Alaya Dawn Johnson
I write about learning
I write testing materials for Edgenuity, a company which provides on-line course curriculum for 6-12 graders. I love writing for Edgenuity’s English Language Arts program because it gives me a chance to create a lot of interesting content that will find its way to countless young readers.
And I write about activism
I’m proud to be a 12-year member of the Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI). CJI’s goal is simple: to make change in the unfair and often brutal criminal justice system by supporting the activism of the people most affected by it. Here is a link to our website, for which I wrote the content, with the help of some of my colleagues. Criminal Justice Initiative website
My friend Amin Amhad published his first book last year, and I got to interview him about it for the Brooklyn Rail. If you like a fast-paced, grown-up thriller with a juicy romance tucked in, this is a book for you.
Dystopia, with Dancing
by Charlene Allen
What makes a dystopia? Must evil be its driving force, or could there be a less sinister foundation, akin to a dysfunctional family gone awry? The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson’s first young adult novel, explores disturbing notions of social control in a vibrant, poetic love story. Set in 25th century Brazil, Johnson shuffles typical YA themes, including love triangles and the generation gap, with grand-scale philosophical debates. Even where the premise seems familiar, what happens is likely to surprise in this distinctive novel, filled with nuance and wonder. Read more
Doctor’s Driving Cabs
A.X. Amhad with Charlene Allen
I met Amin Ahmad at a fiction-writing workshop at The New School in New York City, where he quickly rose to stardom. Filled with nervous beginners, the class was hungry for guidance and validation. Is my concept too obscure? Should my piece be in first person instead of third? Is my protagonist likable? In the midst of all that anxiety, and a certain jockeying for position, Amin transformed our group into a rapt audience as he presented The Caretaker’s first chapter, complete with vibrant characters, palpable conflict, and a multi-layered plot already beginning to reveal itself. Our professor, always ready with a thoughtful critique, was left speechless. Read more