Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jammin' Street Lit: Upstate

Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. Print.

American Library Association Alex Award
Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
Nominated for a 2006 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Legacy Award in Debut Fiction. 

Annotation: A young first love filled with all of the trials, betrayals, ups and downs that come with new love, with a twist. This love story takes place in letters.

“Dear Natasha,
Baby the first thing I need to know is do you believe I killed my father?” Asks Antonio

“Dear Antonio,
What happened? Did you kill him? Did you really do it?”

Upstate is a book where you crawl right into the characters heads. You are right there listening to their inner dialogue and feeling what they are feeling, through the words that they write on the pages and pages of letters shared between them. Antonio is 17 and he is being accused of killing his father. He is incarcerated “Upstate.” His biggest fears are that they will try him as an adult, and charge him with murder, instead of manslaughter, and is his lawyer really any good? Can a public defender really prove him innocent? Natasha his new and first love is his distraction. His letters to her and hers that come back in return, are his lifeline, his hope of having a future.

Jellie James Review: I like this book. Although I was not raised in the city so many of the situations and trials that the characters go through I cannot relate to myself. I can relate to the general ideas and scenarios. That first love feeling, passion and insecurity and the idea and experience of loving someone that your parents do not approve of I can relate to. Even without having a lot in common with the characters the story that they tell through their own voices in the letters is entrancing. A Jammin’ good read!

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