by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess


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New York Times bestseller!

Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.

In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.

“A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll.” —Booklist, starred review

“Many readers will identify with Blade’s struggle to find his place in a family where he feels like an outsider.” —Publishers Weekly

“The authentic character development and tone will strike a chord with young adults.” —School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310761884
Publisher: Blink
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 35,133
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Kwame Alexander is the New York Times Bestselling author of 32 books, including The Undefeated; How to Read a Book; Solo; Swing; Rebound, which was shortlisted for prestigious Carnegie Medal; and his Newbery medal-winning middle grade novel, The Crossover. He’s also the founding editor of Versify, an imprint that aims to Change the World One Word at a Time. Visit him at Kwame

Mary Rand Hess is a poet, mixed-media artist, screenwriter, and New York Times bestselling author of Solo and Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures, both coauthored with Kwame Alexander.

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Solo (B&N Exclusive Edition) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Wanderlustlover More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess, Blink Publishers, and NetGalley for this free honest reviewer copy of "Solo." I was absolutely sold from go about this new Young Adult novel being written entirely in poetry and music. This novel was powerful in its impact and incredibly needed in a world where poetry is seen increasingly as an esoteric language but where song (which is poetry set music) is the reigning king, that no one sees the earlier shadow and shining crown of. This whole novel was heart felt, painful, perfect and I hope that the author writes many, many more like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Solo is Kwame Alexander's latest release (from Blink YA Books) and features Mary Rand Hess. These amazing authors expertly weave the story of Blade, a teen who would rather not be associated with his famous father, Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star. Blade's girlfriend, Chapel, is the light in his life of darkness, but her parents forbid her to see Blade amid continued family drama. Blade finds that his life is not as it seems – is it worse? The one connection that the family shares is music – much music. “But not even the songs that flow through Blade's soul are enough when he's faced with two unimaginable realities...” The music that connects Blade, his father, and the other intriguing characters in the book are the web that Alexander and Hess create to lead the reader (and Blade) from Hollywood to West Africa in search of life's answers. Tracks from Lenny Kravitz, Metallica, U2 ,Van Halen, Aretha Franklin, and more all bring memories to carry the reader (and Blade) into the future. The story is a true hero's journey through music and time. (Suggestion: Get the audio version!) What I loved most about Solo is that it is written in Kwame's famous novel-in-verse style, and adding Mary's poetic contributions made my heart sing. The book features nostalgic hits and original music by Randy Preston, Alexander's talented musical friend. The twists, turns, and surprises throughout the book made this a quick read, yet I revisited pages again and again. I downloaded the music to listen to as I traveled with Blade through my third read! I highly recommend Solo for any teen trying to find him/herself in the world, anyone who loves music, or anyone who loves a fantastic story line. (That means “Go Get This Title Now!”) “When the heart gets lost, let the music find you.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, kept me hooked from the start.?
LenaKendricks More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I wanted to make sure that others knew how elegantly it was written and how significant the theme was to anyone in search of themselves. I have read the other reviews and decided not to repeat all that was already stated about the book. So this review is just a thumbs up to those who read before me and gave the book excellent reviews. I think that I will go back and reread the book to the music. I feel that it will give me a different experience than when I first read it. Kudos to Kwame Alexander for his excellent style of writing. Truly a good read.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I listened to this novel and I enjoyed the intensity and the determination within the main character. I thought this was enhanced by the narration of this novel as I could feel the emotions through the characters voices as I listened. I enjoyed the story as there were many excellent points within it but I didn’t feel a great connection to any of the characters. Written in verse, this YA novel offers a bit of everything. It’s Blade, he’s a 17-year-old rock star but his family life is not all that glamourous. His mother died when he was a child and his father is an alcoholic whose behavior and pictures rock all the tabloids. I was even embarrassed reading about his adventures. Blade’s success runs in his blood and Blade has this attitude that follows. Life was great for Blade until a family discussion gets heated and words fly. Those words fall on Blade’s ears and they stick! His world has now flipped over and turned upside down. I think what I enjoyed most about this change is the question: what has become of Blade? Before, we had the self-confidence rock-star Blade and now suddenly, we have Blade, the fish-out-of-water? Why? Within a few minutes Blade has changed. Blade tries to come to terms with what he knows now but his past is still following him. I found the ending okay but I really enjoyed the ideas and notions that the book provoked in me as I read.
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Blade is the son of the famous rockstar Rutherford Morrison. Rutherford throws wild uncontrolled parties and he's a drug addict. His career isn't as grand as it used to be because of it. Blade's mother died and without her Blade doesn't want to be part of his father's household any longer. They have their passion for music in common, but that's the only connection they have. Rutherford means well, but he's so messed up that everything he does inevitably ends in disaster. Blade's girlfriend Chapel isn't supposed to see Blade because of Rutherford's reputation, her parents are forbidding it, and Blade is fed up with the situation. When a shocking family secret comes to light Blade can't stand being at home any longer and goes on a journey to find himself. Will he be able to get his much needed peace and quiet eventually and will it bring him what he wants the most? Blade is unhappy because of his home situation. He's a talented guy, but he doesn't feel good in his own skin. He worships Chapel, but she's always keeping him at a distance, which makes him feel even worse. Blade blames Rutherford for everything that's wrong with his life and a bit of space from his family gives him the chance to objectively look at the situation. He constantly grows as a person and this was amazing to witness. In a few weeks time Blade changes from an angry teenager into a much wiser young man, which was incredibly impressive to read about. Solo is beautifully written. Kwame Alexander's choice of words is spot on and his sentences all work really well. I love his stunning free verse and enjoyed every single page. I could feel Blade's emotions through his music and that gave the story a great open and honest atmosphere. Solo is impressive, entertaining, moving and filled with love and intelligence, it's a very special story that will stay with me for a long time.
BlessedX5 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy novels in verse and I find they go very quickly. This was my first book by Kwame Alexander and it was very interesting, but I do wish that it had continued on a bit more. The ending fell just slightly short of where I would have hoped. I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
VJoyPalmer More than 1 year ago
WOW! When I first heard about Solo, I thought it looked really interesting. But when I found out that the entire story was written in poetic verse, I knew I NEEDED to read this book! Pretty much amazing. The poetry wasn't "uptight" like high school English students might fear. ;) It was moving and fluid. There were times where I focused on the beauty of the poetry, but there were just as many, if not more, times where I was just so caught up in the story being told! The poetry did not detract from that story. In fact, because the story is so rock-and-roll centered, I think the lyric quality added to the story. This is definitely a story music lovers will cherish! Each hidden and brazen mention of the rock-and-roll greats will just make you smile. Read Solo. You won't be disappointed. And if you're not into music at all *gasp*, then I think you will still enjoy the story and the message. Readers should be aware that Solo is not an overtly Christian book. There are Christian overtones, but the story is written for the general market. However, it packs a powerful punch!!! The authors explore what home and family really mean, as well as forgiveness, redemption, life, love, fear (face the spider!), and death. I can't recommend Solo enough, and it would be a powerful book for adults and teens alike who are new to God and/or don't really know God yet. Five Stars - this is a great book! Now excuse me while I get my hands on more Kwame Alexander books! I received a copy of Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess published by Blink from the Solo Launch Team. All opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ink that graces the white space of this novel in verse is chosen, appointed, and then set free to flow melodically with purpose. Solo is beautifully penned by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. It will take you on a journey from Hollywood to Ghana with Blade Morrison, the song writing, guitar playing, hopeless romantic son of a rock star dad. Solo will tug at your heart strings. As you dive deep, enraptured in verse, lost between the pages..."let the music find you." I would recommend this book for 8th grade and up. It is Such a gift to fans and new comers alike and will be loved by all. CeCeLibrarian
ldonalty More than 1 year ago
As a middle school literacy coach, I am always looking for books to engage my middle school readers. Kwame's previous books, Crossover and Booked totally hooked my most reluctant readers. I had students hiding them from each other in order to be able to read them during reading workshop! I cannot wait to share Solo with my students this year. The story has a TON of heart and is sure to spark great conversations about topics relevant to middle school students. AND, there is a built in song playlist!
kss_library More than 1 year ago
Kwame Alexander is a gifted writer who reaches out to young readers with his beautiful and insightful verse. Read this book!