Esti's Reviews > After Tupac and D Foster

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
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Oct 12, 11

bookshelves: children-ya-media-class, favorites
Read in October, 2011

After Tupac & D Foster is vibrant coming of age story, seen through the acute emotions of a pre-teen girl. The summer that they are eleven years old, the unnamed narrator and her best friend Neeka meet D, a girl their own age but seeming much older from years of navigating the foster care system. The three form a close bond, in part through their mutual love for the music of Tupac Shakur and fascination with his personal history. Over two years, the narrator learns about her own identity through the intensity and mystery that comprise D and her relation to the content of Tupac's lyrics. D's departure with her long-absent mother and Tupac's death come hard on each other's heels, ending the girls' era but giving the narrator a final insight into her "Big Purpose."

Though the story rarely leaves the Queens block where the narrator and Neeka have grown up, it gives a wide picture of young urban life in the mid-1990s. It deals with themes of violence, sexuality, and prejudice that, while perhaps not suitable for younger readers, are believably witnessed through the eyes of a young girl, and written in a way that will make teen readers consider their own experiences and they way their lives have been shaped. The balance between dialogue and the narrator's internal observations flows well, and the book doesn't lose its fascination despite being driven more by emotions than by plot. The Newbery Honor medal is well-deserved. Highly recommended for ages 13-17.

Tags: urban fiction, YA fiction, foster care, music, African American history, female protagonists, violence, prejudice, uplifting, friendship, early teens
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