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Solo Synopsis

New York Times bestseller! 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. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father. In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he's been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift. A contemporary hero's journey, brilliantly told. -Kirkus Reviews, starred review A rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll. -Booklist, starred review Many readers will identify with Blade's struggle to find his place in a family where he feels like an outsider. -Publishers Weekly The authentic character development and tone will strike a chord with young adults. -School Library Journal

Solo Press Reviews

Blade Morrison begins his story by disclosing, I am / the wretched son / of a poor / rich man. Master storytellers and poets Alexander (The Crossover, 2014) and Hess (The Day I Met the Nuts, 2009) have joined forces to pen a rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll. The only things 17-year-old Blade can count on as the wealthy but neglected son of famously erratic rock god Rutherford Morrison are his soulful guitar ballads and his girlfriend, Chapel. When Rutherford disappoints Blade one time too many and they end up fighting, Blade's sister reveals a long-guarded family secret. Suddenly the music leaves him; when Chapel is no longer there to anchor him either, Blade sets out to discover more about his own past. A mix tape of classic rock hits guides him from Los Angeles all the way to the small village of Konko, Ghana, where a delay in his journey brings him unexpected fulfillment. Scattered throughout the novel in verse are some of Blade's original rock ballads, though every poem feels like a song, pulsing with Alexander's signature lyrical style. Blade ends up finding much more than what he expects: self-discovery, community, and a deeper understanding of what family means. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Alexander has a history of appealing to teens of all sorts, and a Newbery to his name; don't expect this collaboration to stay on shelves long. * Booklist * 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 adults. 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.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal * School Library Journal * The 17-year-old son of a troubled rock star is determined to find his own way in life and love. On the verge of adulthood, Blade Morrison wants to leave his father's bad-boy reputation for drug-and-alcohol-induced antics and his sister's edgy lifestyle behind. The death of his mother 10 years ago left them all without an anchor. Named for the black superhero, Blade shares his family's connection to music but resents the paparazzi that prevent him from having an open relationship with the girl that he loves. However, there is one secret even Blade is unaware of, and when his sister reveals the truth of his heritage during a bitter fight, Blade is stunned. When he finally gains some measure of equilibrium, he decides to investigate, embarking on a search that will lead him to a small, remote village in Ghana. Along the way, he meets people with a sense of purpose, especially Joy, a young Ghanaian who helps him despite her suspicions of Americans. This rich novel in verse is full of the music that forms its core. In addition to Alexander and co-author Hess' skilled use of language, references to classic rock songs abound. Secondary characters add texture to the story: does his girlfriend have real feelings for Blade? Is there more to his father than his inability to stay clean and sober? At the center is Blade, fully realized and achingly real in his pain and confusion. A contemporary hero's journey, brilliantly told. (Verse fiction. 14-adult) - Kirkus Reviews, *starred review * Kirkus *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780310761846
Publication date: 1st August 2017
Author: Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess
Publisher: Blink an imprint of Zondervan
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 464 pages

About Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess

Kwame Alexander is a poet, speaker, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children. His other works include the novels He Said, She Said and Booked, as well as his nonfiction debut, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. He is the cofounder of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program. Visit him at KwameAlexander.com. Mary Rand Hess is a poet, screenwriter, editor, and author of several books, including Animal Ark: Celebrating ...

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