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Monday, July 19, 2010

Unsigned Hype

by Booker T. Mattison
207 pages

*** About the Book ***

Fifteen-year-old musician Tory and lives in a somewhat rough neighborhood in New York with his widowed mother and two older brothers.  He's classically trained on piano but all he wants to do is create hip hop music.  His dream becomes a reality when his music is featured on a nationally syndicated radio program and Tory is propelled into stardom.  But all that glitters is not gold, and Tory quickly realizes that many of the new people in his life are into a pretty bad scene.  Meanwhile his mother is forcing him to meet once a week for "lessons" with an old friend of his father's, Mr. Lord, in the hopes that she can keep her son out of trouble.  These lessons aren't completely bad though, as they let Tory get closer to Mr. Lord's daughter Precious, the girl he's decided will be his future wife (she just doesn't know it yet).

*** Why I Read It ***

This is not a book that I'd normally be drawn to so when it was pitched to me I immediately planned to turn it down.  But since I really enjoy book trailers I decided to watch this one before making a decision.  Once I saw the trailer I realized that I wanted to give the book a shot so I agreed to review it.

Learn more about the book and the author at Booker T. Mattison's website.

*** My Thoughts ***

This book was way outside of my comfort zone: it's YA, it's about hip hop music, it has an urban setting, and it's written using lots of slang terms.  Yet in spite of all that, once I got into the book I really enjoyed most of it.

Tory seemed very real to me, and the other main characters in the book did as well.  The reactions of his family and friends to his success were just what I'd expect (as an adult) but of course not always what Tory expected.  His experiences and his decisions were completely understandable and I enjoyed reading along to find out what was going to happen next.

What I didn't realize when I picked up that book is that it is written from a Christian worldview.  As a Christian, I appreciate the direction the book goes in, especially since I didn't see it coming.  That said, once I got the drift, I quickly got bored with that part of the story since it seemed predictable to me.  I don't think that non-Christian teen readers would have the same experience that I did though, and Mattison clearly had that audience in mind when he was writing. 

For the most part I enjoyed the book but felt that I wasn't exactly the intended audience. 

*** Your Thoughts ***

I haven't seen any other reviews of this book in the blogosphere - did I miss yours?


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

New title to me Heather but I like your review and it peeked my interest. :)

Alyce said...

This does look like it would be a good book for the intended audience. I completely understand what you mean though about being predictable in that part of the story - I used to read a lot of Christian fiction (and worked at a Christian publishing company). There were a few authors who wrote Christian romance books exclusively and we used to joke that there was always a baby, a marriage, and someone always got saved. Of course this being a hip-hop music book that wouldn't apply. :)

Heather J. said...

Sheila - Ooh good! I love it when I write about a book that no one has heard of yet!

Alyce - That's one of the reasons I avoid Christian fiction - the predictability of it. This book was really entertaining in many ways, but like I said, it would probably be a better read for the intended audience ...

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