October 2017

$17.99 AUS

464p pb

ISBN: 978-0310761846


Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

from HarperCollins...

Solo tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, who knows the life of a rock star isn't really about the glitz and glamour. All the new cars and money in the world can't make up for the scathing tabloid covers or the fact that his father is struggling with just about every addiction under the sun-including a desperate desire to make a comeback and regain his former fame. Haunted by memories of his mother-who died when Blade was nine-and the ruin his father's washed-up legacy and life have brought to the family, Blade is left to figure out life on his own. But, he's not all alone: He's got the friendship of a jazz-musician mentor, Robert; the secret love of a girlfriend, Chapel; and his music. All may not be well in the Morrison home, but things are looking up for Blade, until he discovers a deeply protected family secret-one that further threatens his relationship with his family and has him questioning his own identity. Thrown into a tailspin, Blade decides the only way he will understand his past and begin his future is to find out the truth behind the music and himself. He soon sets out on a journey that will change everything he thought to be true. His quest lands him in Ghana, stuck in a village just shy of where answers to the secret can be found. There, Blade discovers a friendship he couldn't have imagined, a people founded in family and community, and a reconciliation he never expected.

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17 year old Blade is the son of a rock star and enjoys a privileged life. But all is not as it seems. His dad is a drug addict and his mother died 10 years earlier. He has to see his girlfriend in secret as her parents forbid her to see him. Blade has music talent and interspersed in this verse novels are the lyrics of Blade’s songs. After a fight with his sister some family truths are revealed which rock Blade’s world to the very core. He now feels like an outsider in his own family and to top it off he is caught seeing his girlfriend by her father and things get even worse.

All this leads Blade to a remote village in Ghana where he seeks the truth of his heritage and along the way find his place in the world.

What an outstanding novel this is. Both main and secondary characters are fully developed and there are many emotional and poignant verses. This novel in verse, explores family, music and sense of self and place. This collaboration between Alexander and Hess will have readers following Blade’s journey with anticipation and joy.

Stephen Canberra

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