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Let Me Hear a Rhyme



by
Tiffany Jackson

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Katherine Tegen
ISBN
9780062840325
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Marijuana Use, Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use, Violence: Mild Violence, Crime: Gang/Organized Crime
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QTY
Out of stock

JLG Category

Mystery High Plus

Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.


Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.


Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Marijuana Use, Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use, Violence: Mild Violence, Crime: Gang/Organized Crime

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

384

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

4: points 11

Lexile

HL610L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

19

JLG Release

Aug 2019

Book Genres


Topics

Hip-hop music. Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. New York City. Friendship. Secrets. The 1990s.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly*, Booklist*, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews*, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

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. 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.

Horn Book

It’s 1998, and hip-hop reigns supreme on the music charts and in the streets of Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the violence plaguing the community claims the life of Steph Davis, brother to Jazmine and best friend to Quadir and Jarrell. After discovering a treasure-trove of Steph’s recordings and notebooks full of his rhymes, the trio sets out to make Steph famous, posthumously. They catch the attention of a high-powered music executive who is all business and plays no games. Jackson (Steptoe winner for Monday’s Not Coming, rev. 7/18) presents a fast-moving, heart-pounding homage to nineties hip-hop, Brooklyn, and the power of music, love, and friendship. Readers are transported to a time when DJs and MCs rocked the parties and when word-of-mouth could make you a star—juxtaposed with the ever-present threats of violence and hardship. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Steph’s death have a lingering impact on the lives of the three young people, the choices they face, and their struggles to cope with loss. Jazmine, Quadir, and Jarrell courageously confront the seeming apathy of the community, systems of injustice, and the invisible boundaries of the inner-city—and discover the healing power of art as they fight to seek justice for Steph.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

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. 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.

Horn Book

It’s 1998, and hip-hop reigns supreme on the music charts and in the streets of Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the violence plaguing the community claims the life of Steph Davis, brother to Jazmine and best friend to Quadir and Jarrell. After discovering a treasure-trove of Steph’s recordings and notebooks full of his rhymes, the trio sets out to make Steph famous, posthumously. They catch the attention of a high-powered music executive who is all business and plays no games. Jackson (Steptoe winner for Monday’s Not Coming, rev. 7/18) presents a fast-moving, heart-pounding homage to nineties hip-hop, Brooklyn, and the power of music, love, and friendship. Readers are transported to a time when DJs and MCs rocked the parties and when word-of-mouth could make you a star—juxtaposed with the ever-present threats of violence and hardship. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Steph’s death have a lingering impact on the lives of the three young people, the choices they face, and their struggles to cope with loss. Jazmine, Quadir, and Jarrell courageously confront the seeming apathy of the community, systems of injustice, and the invisible boundaries of the inner-city—and discover the healing power of art as they fight to seek justice for Steph.

Grades 9 & Up
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