Title: Let Me Hear a Rhyme
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Genre: YA fiction
I’ve already read Grown and Monday’s Not Coming from Tiffany D. Jackson, and both books were just outstanding. So I made a point to read her other books. I have Allegedly on my Kindle and will get to it shortly, but this one was a book I’ve heard very little about. And I get why. It’s very different from her other books. It’s fantastic, and I really enjoyed it. I wish it got more hype, though. Whereas her other books are more intense, more edge of your seat, this one is more laid-back. And it’s definitely an homage to her youth. She says in the back of the book that this one is her most personal, and I can see why. She writes about the late 90s in Brooklyn, which is when/where she grew up. When Biggie was murdered, she remembers his funeral, which makes an appearance in the book. Her love and knowledge of hip hop is evident. And where there is a darker plot line, overall the book was less nail-biting than her others.
From Goodreads: 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.
Steph’s death happens before the book begins, which makes the loss easier on the reader. Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are really great, fun, dynamic characters who you cheer for from the outset. While they are trying to get Steph’s voice into the community, they are also trying to find out what happens to him, which is the aforementioned darker storyline. That said, this book was a lot lighter than her others. Sadly, it has nowhere near the ratings on Goodreads. But if you enjoy her books, you should absolutely add this one to your list.