From Coltrane to disco to old-school hip-hop, an energetic tale of a teen disc jockey’s struggle to reach the top.
Sixteen-year-old Marley Diego-Dylan is one of the only kids in his elite high school on financial aid. His father died a few years back, and his mom spends her days strung out on heroin in front of the television. Marley fights to keep everything together, but he dreams of becoming a star DJ. His career surges when he lands a substitute gig at a local club. Soon he’s spinning vinyl at the hottest clubs. When his mother’s situation take a turn for the worst, however, he’s reality-checked back into his old life and must choose between his dreams and his old responsibilities. Maia’s first teen novel balances true-to-life urban teenspeak, well-drawn characters and a plot that often seems too good to be true. The descriptions of Marley’s—aka DJ Ice—DJ sessions are near euphoric, and music fans will love learning about the artists he blends for the dance floor. The novel itself feels just as glossy as the DJ sequences and lacks much of the realistic grit that other works embrace, such as Coe Booth’s Tyrell (2006). Still, readers will relish reading about Marley’s rise to fame despite his harrowing situation.
A new voice worth watching. (Fiction. 14 & up)