HARLEM HUSTLE by Janet McDonald


Age Range: 14 & up
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Eric Samson goes by Double H, or Harlem Hustle, and lives with the family of his best friend, Manley “Ride” Freeman. “A wretched child who was never given anything but away—first to relatives, then to neighbors,” Double H’s thang is rap. Trying to shoplift, he gets unwanted attention from store detectives and then is mistaken for a real rap star. Full of jive talk, rap lyrics and enough blue language to be realistic, McDonald captures the flavor of desperation mixed with bravado that translates into a gripping tale of the hood. Early on, Hustle gets into a flashy party and meets real rap stars, producers and fans. There’s a naïveté contrasting with his street smarts that captures Hustle’s vulnerability as he tries to make a demo and move up. Jeannette, a friend who attends a hotshot prep school and works in publishing, provides a needed contrast of values—as does the incredibly wealthy home of preppy Spencer Adams, a young man learning the family recording industry from the inside. Elements of smartness spar with smart-alecky repartee in this fast-paced ride about a universal longing for excellence at something, and being recognized for it. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2006
ISBN: 0-374-37184-9
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2006


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