Saturday, August 5, 2017

Book Review: Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

"To hear him 


is to know

 his hurt 

is volcanic

 is to know

he is capable 

of loving..." 

I wish there was a pre-order service so I can just be charged for every book Kwame Alexander ever writes from now until forever :) Let's just say, Solo does not disappoint. And after Playbook, Crossover, and Booked, Solo brings a unique and wonderful vibe all its own. Still in Alexander's signature verse, but a bit heavier in subject than the previous few I've devoured, I'd lean this selection to my older middle school students and high schoolers.

Recap: Solo is the story of Blade Morrison, the 17-year-old son of a rockstar who just wants thing to be normal. His father is an addict and seems to get in the way of anything that could possibly be good for Blade, whether his high school graduation speech or his relationship with his girlfriend Chapel. Making things even worse, his sister, Storm, ends up sharing a long-kept family secret during a fight with Blade that shakes him to his core. Yearning for the truth, he seeks out his roots in Ghana and continues on his quest, solo, to understand who he is and who he wants to be. With many wise characters along the way, Robert, Joy, and Sia, the richness of this journey to understand yourself and how you fit into family is one so many can identify with. Being written in verse, with songs that Blade both writes and listens to (very Sheffield-esque), and text messages throughout - it all joins together to create this dynamic, fluid structure that is Blade's voice and Blade's story.

You'll definitely want this in your classroom!

A few more of the lines that make me fall in love with words and books all over again...

"She likes to get real close, eyelash close."

"Don't haiku me, Blade. I want an epic." 

"My family stands for too much and not enough.

Too much celebrity, not enough dignity."  

"We are the sum 

of moving parts

 and adjustable hearts." 


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