Bound To Stay Bound

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 Let me hear a rhyme
 Author: Jackson, Tiffany D.

 Publisher:  HarperCollins (2020)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 380 p.,  22 cm

 BTSB No: 483388 ISBN: 9780062840325
 Ages: 13-18 Grades: 8-12

 Rap (Music) -- Fiction
 Teenagers -- Fiction
 Friendship -- Fiction
 Grief -- Fiction

Price: $9.83

The story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he's still alive. When rapper Steph is murdered, Steph's younger sister Jasmine, and friends Quadir and Jarrell promote his music under a new stage name. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph's talent from beyond the grave. As pressure of keeping their secret grows, they are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: UG
   Reading Level: 4.00
   Points: 11.0   Quiz: 505237
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 9-12
   Reading Level: 4.40
   Points: 19.0   Quiz: 76890

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (03/15/19)
   School Library Journal (00/05/19)
   Booklist (+) (04/01/19)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/06/19)
 The Hornbook (00/07/19)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 04/01/2019 *Starred Review* Jackson repeatedly proves that she is a titan among her peers, and her latest novel is no exception. It whisks readers away to a 1990s Brooklyn, where hip-hop pulses through life. Quadir, Jarrell, and Stephon are the tightest of friends, and when Stephon is murdered, Quadir and Jarrell refuse to let his stunning talent for words die with him. With the help of Stephon’s younger sister, Jasmine, they embark on a mission to elevate their fallen comrade to stardom and gift the world his rhymes. Their plan involves circulating Stephon’s music under a new persona they call the Architect, not revealing that the songs are, in fact, posthumous releases. However, the trio doesn’t share the same ultimate goal. Quadir and Jarrell want to boost their dead friend to fame and, perhaps, find a way out of the projects, while Jasmine wants to discover who killed her brother. When their scheme takes off, the pressure of keeping their secret mounts, as does danger the nearer they get to the truth behind Stephon’s murder. Jackson weaves the three points of view together seamlessly, creating richly drawn and authentically real teens characters. Hip-hop is more than a musical genre; it’s a culture and a way of life. Jackson embraces that truth and explores it with uninhibited style in her new novel. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 05/01/2019 GGr 8 Up–After Steph is fatally shot, his sister, Jasmine, and friends Quadir and Jarrell refuse to let his dreams of becoming a rapper die with him. Posing as Steph's management, they sell his CDs on the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant and try to score him a record deal—all without letting anyone know that their client is dead. Like fellow Brooklyn native Biggie Smalls, whose recent death has also cast a pall over the neighborhood, Steph hypnotizes listeners with his smooth flow and potent rhymes. But the truth threatens to catch up with the teens, especially as they get closer to discovering who killed their friend. Jackson vividly brings to life pre-gentrified 1990s Bed-Stuy. Grim realities such as the threat of violence and racial profiling by police pervade the novel, but so does Jackson's abiding love for Brooklyn (or, in Biggie's words, "Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way"). The book alternates among the first-person perspectives of the three protagonists and includes flashbacks to life before Steph's death—an ambitious move that at times slows the pace and keeps the characters slightly underdeveloped. Still, readers will be invested in seeing the trio succeed both in making Steph a star and in realizing their own goals. VERDICT For fans of Jackson and realistic fiction, and a must for hip-hop heads, especially those who devoured Angie Thomas's On the Come Up.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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