Book Review: “Solo” by Kwame Alexander

Blade Morrison is seventeen, and just graduated high school.  His graduation was about to be a huge moment in his life, but turned out to be the scene of his rock star/alcoholic/addict father’s latest embarrassing public scene.  The fall out from that event reveals a family secret  that compels Blade to search out answers on his own.

I’m just going to get to the point here:  This is just another fantastic novel-in-verse by Kwame Alexander.  In fact, I think I like it even more than Booked and The Crossover, which is saying a lot.  And I’d love to say that I had a chance to introduce myself to Mr. Alexander and make up for my embarrassing fangirling at ALA-MidWinter 2016…  but, no.  Instead, I lurked and stared and listened to him play his guitar in different places at ALA-Annual 2017.  I am so not cool guys, and if he should ever read this, I just don’t even know what I would do with that embarrassment.  But this is not about me.

This is really about Blade, and how he is coming to terms with his identity, his family, and love.  He is a musician through and through, but the music leaves him when he begins to doubt all that he knows about himself.  He goes on a journey to find answers, and discovers more than he bargained for.  But the music is there.  It is his essence and the way he will process all of this.  For better or worse, he does have his family with him too, as well as a new friend that complements him and challenges him in all the ways he needs most.

My biggest problem is that the book ends too soon!  I mean, the ending is heart-wrenching and triumphant…  but there is more.  I know there is more.

Get this straight into the hands of those teen boys who say they don’t like to read.  Hand it to those who are into self-discovery stories, adventure, and/or family drama with a side of rock and roll.

*****

Solo

by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

Blink, 2017

464 pages

Source:  Publisher/ALA

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