Solo

Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess. Blink, $17.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-310-76183-9
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.)
Reviewed on: 06/12/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Children's
MP3 CD - 978-1-5200-7448-1
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