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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      American Library Association
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    • Abstract:
      * Solo. By Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. Aug. 2017.464p. Blink, $17.99 (9780310761839). Gr. 9-12. Blade Morrison begins his story by disclosing, 'I am / the wretched [...]
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      COPYRIGHT 2017 American Library Association
      Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
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Booklist Reviews 2017 May #1

*Starred Review* Blade Morrison begins his story by disclosing, "I am / the wretched son / of a poor / rich man." Master storytellers and poets Alexander (The Crossover, 2014) and Hess (The Day I Met the Nuts, 2009) have joined forces to pen a rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll. The only things 17-year-old Blade can count on as the wealthy but neglected son of famously erratic rock god Rutherford Morrison are his soulful guitar ballads and his girlfriend, Chapel. When Rutherford disappoints Blade one time too many and they end up fighting, Blade's sister reveals a long-guarded family secret. Suddenly the music leaves him; when Chapel is no longer there to anchor him either, Blade sets out to discover more about his own past. A mix tape of classic rock hits guides him from Los Angeles all the way to the small village of Konko, Ghana, where a delay in his journey brings him unexpected fulfillment. Scattered throughout the novel in verse are some of Blade's original rock ballads, though every poem feels like a song, pulsing with Alexander's signature lyrical style. Blade ends up finding much more than what he expects: self-discovery, community, and a deeper understanding of what family means. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Alexander has a history of appealing to teens of all sorts, and a Newbery to his name; don't expect this collaboration to stay on shelves long. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall

Seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, son of a famous rocker, just wants to avoid the attention his family receives for his father's drug-and-alcohol-fueled bad behavior. When a family secret is revealed, further alienating Blade, the Hollywood-raised teen embarks on a life-altering trip to Ghana. Alexander's verse, co-written with Hess, evokes the moody emotions of Blade's favorite real-life rock ballads (lyrics to which are interspersed). Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

PW Reviews 2017 June #2

Betrayed by those closest to him and stunned by a family secret, 17-year-old Blade Morrison flees his comfortable but chaotic life as the son of a drug-addicted rock star. Seeking answers and closure, Blade travels to the Ghanaian village of Konko, where he gains new perspective on family and belonging. Writing in free verse, Alexander and Hess, who recently collaborated on Animal Ark, strongly communicate Blade's frustration and disappointment ("I have taken for granted/ the palm trees of Cali... planted by Spanish missionaries/ in the 18th century.... They don't belong here./ And neither do I"). Lyrics from Blade's songs (and interspersed references to songs from Lenny Kravitz, Metallica, and others) emphasize the importance of music in his life, both as a link to his family and as a way to express himself. Blade's interactions with his father, a Ghanaian young woman named Joy, and a child named Sia are especially poignant, so much so that these secondary characters can draw focus. But many readers will identify with Blade's struggle to find his place in a family where he feels like an outsider. Ages 13–up. Agent: Arielle Eckstut, Levine Greenberg Rostan. (Aug.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.