Sweet Sixteen By Bolaji Abdullahi – JAMB RECOMMENDED – Aliya has to constantly remind her father that she is not a child but ‘a young adult.’ He does not always agree with her. But now that she is turning sixteen, he is sitting up and taking notice. The expected birthday card from him is replaced by a present and no holds barred letter – a page for each year she has lived.
Summary of the Novel – “Sweet Sixteen” for UTME.
Aliya has to constantly remind her father that she is not a child but ‘a young adult.’ He does not always agree with her.
But now that she is turning sixteen, he is sitting up and taking notice. The expected birthday card from him is replaced by a present and no holds barred letter – a page for each year she has lived.
It chronicles the lessons he has tried to teach her and the wisdom he has attempted to pass to her. It unburdens the burning questions she has about life and sometimes shows through the cluelessness of parental units. Aliya questions who she is and why she is; with her father as a guide on this journey of discovery. An engaging coming of age guide on life and love for the teenage girl.
In Bolaji Abdullahi’s Sweet Sixteen, the protagonist, 16-year-old Aliya, whom her father refers to adoringly as ‘My First Lady,’ bombards her father with questions, some of which threw her journalist father off balance.
‘’Okay Daddy, what does HAK and KOTL mean?,’’Aliya asked. And when the father expressed his ignorance of the acronyms, Aliya gleefully supplied them; ‘’HAK means ‘Hugs and Kisses’ while KOTL means ‘Kiss On The Lips’.
And when she added that some students were caught on the school’s basketball court at night having ‘’53X’ (s3x), Mr Bello almost fainted. ‘’But…how do you know all these?,’’ he asked almost in consternation, to which Aliya replied: ‘’Come on Daddy, everybody knows these things.”
In his debut fictional work, Bolaji Abdullahi, who has written extensively over the years on politics, policy and development, laid bare in an absorbing page-turner, murky truths and hitherto unspeakable issues in the ever-challenging world of teenagers and young adults.
Divided into seven sections;
The Drive, Work,
The Gandhi Test,
Stereotype and Beauty,
Sweet Sixteen’s central focus is a series of conversations between Mr Bello and her 16-year-old intelligent and precocious daughter on the ‘facts of life.’
These are topics which the book’s editor, Molara Wood, referred to on the book’s cover jacket as ‘’everything a teenage girl ever wanted to know but was afraid to ask.”
Another part of the book’s blurb referred to it as ‘’a parenting manual and a guidebook for young adults.” The above notwithstanding, sociologists, educationists and policy-makers, as well as parents and guardians, are still divided on how much ‘sensitive’ information, especially on s3x education, should be divulged to teenagers.
For example, in a recent UK survey, more than half of parents do not think s3x education should be taught to children at school. According to a poll by baby product website babychild.org.uk; ‘’Many think it is inappropriate to teach children about s3x, whilst others think it should be a parent’s choice to inform their own children.”
However, on the other side of the coin, it is believed that, just as Aliya put it in Sweet Sixteen, most teenagers are already aware of what adults seem to be hiding from them.
According to one expert; ‘’Comprehensive s3x education doesn’t encourage kids to have s3x. Just like abstinence-only programmes, good comprehensive programmes teach students that abstinence is the only surefire way to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
The difference is that these programmes also give students realistic and factual information about the safety of various s3xual practices, and how to improve the odds.’’
In writing Sweet Sixteen, Bolaji Abdullahi, a former Nigerian Minister of Youths and Sports, among other previous jobs, must have critically weighed the above positions before taking on a smorgasbord of young adult topics that ranged from bullying, dating, stereotype, ethics and s3x education, among others
In pushing out his themes, the author finds a good ally in Aliya Bello, a teenager with a curious, fascinating and inquisitive mind and a devoted as well as a responsible father. Mr Bello, as expected of any good father, took responsibility for the education of his daughter, including the tricky but very important aspect of s3x education.
Aliya is, therefore, fortunate to have a father who does not leave her to struggle alone with the demons that usually torment teenagers when awash in a flood of hormones and the pull of peer pressure.
The result is a compelling tale, loaded with morality and textured with a rich lyrical prose and young adult lingo…story-story, my bestie, OMG among others. The storyline has an upper-middle-class flavour with luxuriant meals, leisurely Saturday drives and a Mrs Bello, the nurse, often distant from father and daughter.
But in the hinterland between fact and fiction, the author is able to deftly sift the core values from the emotion, the treat from the trick and for this, parents and guardians will forever be grateful.
Possible Questions from JAMB 2019 Sweet Sixteen Novel
Below are the expected questions from Jamb’s “Sweet Sixteen”;
Who is the Author of the book, “Sweet Sixteen”?
Answer: Bolaji Abdullahi
How old was Aliya in the Novel?
According to one expert; ‘’Comprehensive s*x education doesn’t encourage kids to have s*x.
Kiss On The Lips
Kiss On The Labs
Kiss On-top The Lips
Kiss On-top The Legs
Answer: Kiss on-top the lips
…………. almost fainted when he heard that some students were caught on the school’s basketball court at night having ‘’S*X’.
Answer: Mr. Bellow
Good comprehensive programmes teach students that abstinence is the only surefire way to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
Adoringly, Aliya was referred to as……….
Answer: First Lady
Who asked this question “what does HAK and KOTL mean?”
Mr Bello is a ————— by Professions fro the Novel.
Where were the students were caught having S*X?
At the Chapel
Behind a Lawn Tennis Court
At the Basketball Court
In the Toilet
Answer: At the basket ball Court
…………. is the protagonist in the Novel, Sweet Sixteen
From the Novel, Most Teenagers knows what Adults seems to be Hiding from them.
Number of Questions Jamb Sets from the Novel; the number of questions set by jamb varies. In some cases, student with the same jamb subject combination are given different number of questions from jamb novel. However, the total number of questions from the novel for each candidate from the novel should not exceed 10.
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