Author: Kwame Alexander
Info: Blink, copyright 2017, 320 pages
Solo, a YA novel
in poetic verse, tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison,
whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling
with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate
desire to make a comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and his
family’s ruin, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his
girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected family secret,
Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything
he thought to be true.
Blade is the son of a famous, aging musician. His life has been road trips and cameras, rehab and spectacle, and with the loss of his mother, "normal" no longer exists. When he discovers a long-held secret about his birth, Blade travels across the world to better understand who he is and, through music, begins to grow and heal.
I both liked this one and didn't. I liked the language, the poetry, the voice. Kwame Alexander is a beautiful storyteller. And I liked Blade. He was kid trying to become a man and a human desperate to better understand where he comes from.
But the format felt lacking, which I feel is often the case with novels in verse. You substitute character and plot development for form, choosing to focus more on poetry than story. (I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of poetry...so yes, I'm a bit biased.) This went even a step further adding musical elements as well. Those moments were quality and interesting but took me out of the story for some reason. Blade's life is so far removed from anything I understand - adopted son of an attention-grabbing rock star - aspiring musician just kind of pushed it over the edge for me.
All that aside, I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it, and recommend it for Kwame Alexander's voice if nothing else.