Title: Let Me Hear A Rhyme
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Publishing Date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: Kathrine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Music, Young Adult Contemporary, Historical Fiction.
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.
The idea of a teen’s best friends and sister banding together to make his dream come true after he was murder seemed . . . ridiculous, but Tiffany D. Jackson managed to pull it of.
Let Me Hear A Rhyme is told from the Point-Of-View of Jasmine, Jarrell, Quadir and Steph, as a result we get to learn and connect with our characters from four different pairs of eyes. Every character in this story is three-dimensional, unique and not what we expect. We were told the mystery element of the novel would be Steph’s murder, but it isn’t the only thing shrouded in mystery. Every character is an unsolved puzzle, with pieces scattered across chapters and a need for rearranging with every new detail. Nothing is set in stone with these characters, isn’t it exciting!
Through the eyes of our MC’s we get to experience what it was like to live in Brooklyn 1998 as a black teenager. Each character ( Main and Side) has their own conflicts that add to the overall story. We also get to witness grief and mourning in different ways as all the characters deal with Steph’s untimely death in their own distinct ways.
The journey of making Steph a famous rapper is a challenge for our characters with different obstacles blocking the way to success, from Jarrell’s impulsiveness to familiar faces that might have something to do with Steph’s death it isn’t easy. But they try anyway and because of this we get to see how strong their connection to Steph was. Through dated chapters in Steph’s point of view we learn things about him that even his best friends and sister were unaware of.
Malik-16’s raps were pretty great as well.
-That’s All I Got, Danielle.
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