When We Wuz Famous

Greg Takoudes. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9452-7
Based on Takoudes’s 2008 indie film, Up with Me, this hard-hitting novel follows three teenagers in New York City’s Harlem, struggling to survive inside and outside the neighborhood. Francisco has been given the chance of a lifetime with a senior-year scholarship to a prestigious boarding school upstate. He shines on the basketball court there, but he doesn’t score as well in academics or at finding loyal friends. While Francisco suffers bouts of homesickness, his cousin Vincent flounders back in N.Y.C. without Francisco to bail him out of trouble, and Francisco’s girlfriend, Reignbow, has her hands full trying to take care of her wheelchair-bound mother. Bad decisions, missed opportunities, and betrayals lead to a tangled mess of hardships for all. The question remains whether love, forgiveness, and hope are strong enough to mend broken hearts and friendships. As Takoudes conveys major and minor tragedies, he poignantly captures Francisco’s isolation at school, Vincent’s desperation, and Reignbow’s mixture of regret and anger. Intense and determinedly realistic, this story will leave a lasting impression on readers. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ryan Fischer-Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 03/05/2013
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-05701-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8050-9841-9
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