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Fiction: Realistic, Poetry, Music
Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy; including the loss of his mother.
By: Kwame Alexander
Book Group Leader: Sue Chickerning
Goodreads: 4 stars
Amazon: 4 ½ Stars
Ms. Smith’s Review: 4 Stars “fantastic, even better when you listen to the music described in the book by Blade. Makes me want to listen to the music and reread!”
Awards/Honors: Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (GMBA) 2018/19, Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Poetry, Star reviews in Booklist, Kirkus Review
Review: School Library Journal (8/1/2017)
VERDICT Hand to music lovers, reluctant readers, fans of spoken word poetry, those who appreciate Alexander's work, or anyone seeking a tale of self-discovery.
Gr 7 Up-Blade Morrison is on shaky ground. The death of his mother years ago still haunts him, and he's continually disappointed by his father Rutherford, a rock legend who has long grappled with drug and alcohol addiction. Rutherford's humiliating behavior at Blade's high school graduation, Blade's older sister Storm's revelation of a devastating family secret, and his girlfriend Chapel's betrayal send the teenager reeling. Looking for answers, he heads to Ghana, where he begins to heal. This novel in verse reverberates with the energy of spoken word poetry. Alexander and Hess have a knack for making ordinary language seem lyrical, and the narrative is conveyed through dialogue, text messages, and news reports as well as through Blade's terse, first-person, present-tense musings. References to rock and roll songs and artists as varied as Lenny Kravitz, Guns N' Roses, and Stevie Nicks give the book an infectious rhythm. Though the writing is at times slightly unpolished, it perfectly captures the teenage voice. Blade is all highs and lows, veering sharply from the intoxicating embrace of first love and lust to feelings of heartbreak and alienation. Some conflicts are wrapped up too neatly and others are forgotten entirely, but the authentic character development and tone will strike a chord with young adult.
Other Books by Kwame Alexander include: Crossover, He Said She Said, and Booked