Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 Solo


Kwame Alexander's first YA novel blends his style of novels in verse with teenage angst and a journey of self-discovery. Blade Morrison is salutatorian at his high school, all set to head off to college in the fall. He plans to do that with his girlfriend Chapel, although her parents have forbidden them to see each other. The reason? Blade's father is a rock star who is frequently in and out of rehab and the tabloid headlines. When his father publicly embarrasses him once again, Blade sets off to find his roots. So he heads from Hollywood to Ghana.

The story unfolds through a mix of song lyrics Blade writes, texts between the characters (Blade, Chapel, Blade's sister and father), and poetic narrative stretches. Along with the usual teenage search for identity and independence, the story also deals with themes of betrayal, loss, love, forgiveness, celebrity lifestyles, and what makes a family.

Although it has such meaningful content, it is a quick read due to the way the verse carries you along. Meant for YA and too mature for younger readers, Solo is another masterpiece by Alexander. Readers who are music buffs will enjoy the references to musicians and particular songs that are scattered throughout the book. (They may also wince over the fate of a certain Eddie Van Halen Frankenstrat.)

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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