C.G. Drews's Reviews > Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, contemporary, read-2020, young-adult

I am just going to sit here and sHOUT that this book is masterful brilliance. It's left me in awe with just the skill of the storytelling. You know when you read a book and it's just plotted so tightly, the puzzle-pieces fit together with satisfying snaps at the end, and the characters feel so real you're shocked at the last page that you don't get to spend more time with your new best friends?!??! Me. This book. Us together. 🥺And, as a writer myself, I constantly read to glean craft tips and I just...I sat there listening to the audiobook and just thinking, "well wow okay this is what excellent writing looks like."

Or okay sounds like. I did listen to the audio. I recommend the audio with every fibre of my being. I kept finding excuses to keep listening! Best yet, it has a full cast recording and listening to them actually say the raps, speak AAVE, and also get all choked with emotion...ahhh, best narrator cast.

[storyline]
The story has one of those juicy hooks that make you just want to know MORE immediately. After the death of Steph, his sister and two best friends decided to promote his music...and act like Steph's still alive. They take him far too, fudging all appearances and getting his music remixed and professionally done and selling CDs on the streets. It's narrated by all three: Jasmine, Quadir, and Jarrell.

AND YES I DID JUST SAY CDs *sobs* it's set in the late '90s and it's so fiercely a loving ode to Brooklyn. There's just Brooklyn culture and love (and fear and regret) on every page. You can feel it. As an Australian, I just melted and formed a question mark about all things American culture but I enjoyed it okay 😂

And of course, as an #ownvoices black book, it is absolutely fiercely and lovingly a black story. From Jasmine being so proud of her history and also frustrated at people ignoring their black roots, to incorporations of gang life, street violence, the love and tight kinship of neighbours, and the absolutely ADORATION for music. This book is built on music. It just is made of music. And I love reading about characters where you can feel their eyes light up as they start going on a passionate rant about music.

And I just freaking loved the writing?! I won't give spoilers, but there's a LOT of plot twists. These kids end up stewing in their lies, they get tangled up in the WHY of Steph's death, and there's so much acknowledgement of grief and how some people cope and others don't. It tackled so many subjects and I never once felt it didn't handle them well. IT DID EVERYTHING. PERFECTLY. (ahhhHHH)

[characters]
They just felt so real. They're messy and impulsive, and they truly felt like teens (also refreshing to have 15 and 16yos starring!) And I loved them all!? Like Jarrell was a total spitfire Slytherin and Quadir had such a soft streak but lied so so much. Jasmine was just HURTING and I loved her so hard. Especially when she felt so isolated by her beliefs and passions. (And I actually liked Veronica too. She did deserve better tbh.) (And the boys were so sexist which was frustrating, but they got a little better? I like how Jasmine also checked some of her sexist beliefs about women who rapped about sex.) I love books that make you feel what the characters feel. I miss these ambitious, grieving, disaster kids so much already.

And what happened with Steph...I'm just crying nevermind me. (The mystery aspect was so tightly and well done too.)

[that moment when I gush foreverrrrr]
I got so caught up in this book, so awed and humbled by the talent in the writing and the love in the storyline. It reminded me how obsessed I was with Allegedly and how made I am now that I haven't read Monday's Not Coming!! I NEED TO. Tiffany D. Jackson is a brilliant and phenomenal author and I want everything she ever writes.
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Reading Progress

July 17, 2018 – Shelved
July 17, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
February 16, 2020 – Started Reading
February 17, 2020 –
page 50
13.02% "if anyone calls this book, set in 1997, a historical fiction story...I will cry"
February 18, 2020 –
page 300
78.13% "this storytelling is FLAWLESS and I'm pretty much in awe at how much talent is wrapped in these pages 😭"
February 19, 2020 – Shelved as: 5-star
February 19, 2020 – Shelved as: contemporary
February 19, 2020 – Shelved as: read-2020
February 19, 2020 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 19, 2020 – Finished Reading

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