Summer 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“Jackson’s third novel transports you straight into the Brooklyn of the late ’90s, full of great hip-hop and rap references, dial-up internet, and the cultural reverberations of the murders of Tupac and Biggie on the black community. When their best friend is shot and killed, two teens attempt to keep his spirit alive by convincing his younger sister to let them make years of his secretly recorded rap music go viral. Jackson’s characters are tangible and her atmosphere is so timely, even though it is set 20 years in the past.”
— Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD
In this striking new novel by the critically acclaimed author of Allegedly and Monday's Not Coming, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he's still alive.
Brooklyn, 1998. Biggie Smalls was right: Things done changed. But that doesn't mean that Quadir and Jarrell are cool letting their best friend Steph's music lie forgotten under his bed after he's murdered--not when his rhymes could turn any Bed Stuy corner into a party.
With the help of Steph's younger sister Jasmine, they come up with a plan to promote Steph's music under a new rap name: the Architect. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph's talent from beyond the grave.
As the pressure 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, they need to decide what they stand for or lose all that they've worked so hard to hold on to--including each other.
Jackson scores a bullseye with her passionate homage to Black city life in the late '90s. (Publishers Weekly, An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List)