Age Range
Release Date
August 01, 2017
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From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, comes Solo, a YA novel written in poetic verse. Solo tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, who knows the life of a rock star isn’t really about the glitz and glamour. All the new cars and money in the world can’t make up for the scathing tabloid covers or the fact that his father is struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback and regain his former fame. Haunted by memories of his mother—who died when Blade was nine—and the ruin his father’s washed-up legacy and life have brought to the family, Blade is left to figure out life on his own. But, he’s not all alone: He’s got the friendship of a jazz-musician mentor, Robert; the secret love of a girlfriend, Chapel; and his music. All may not be well in the Morrison home, but things are looking up for Blade, until he discovers a deeply protected family secret—one that further threatens his relationship with his family and has him questioning his own identity. Thrown into a tailspin, Blade decides the only way he will understand his past and begin his future is to find out the truth behind the music and himself. He soon sets out on a journey that will change everything he thought to be true. His quest lands him in Ghana, stuck in a village just shy of where answers to the secret can be found. There, Blade discovers a friendship he couldn’t have imagined, a people founded in family and community, and a reconciliation he never expected. With his signature intricacy, intimacy, and poetic style, Kwame Alexander explores what it means to finally come home.

Editor review

1 review
Mesmerizing Story Told in Verse
Overall rating
Writing Style
Told entirely in verse, Solo is a story full of love, loss, addiction and music. Like Kwame Alexander's previous books, each character in Solo have elements that you can relate to and see in the people you know.

Blade is a musician dealing with family issues and his father's addiction problems. While others might only see the privilege his father's fame has given him, there is a darker side to Blade's life at home. Like many of us, Blade is dealing with the struggle to find himself, his identity in the world, and how it all fits in the bigger picture. But as each life obstacle presents itself he finds it harder to do. Solo incorporates a few different styles of verse to help convey the complexity and range of human emotions as Blade finds himself wading through his journey. I loved the rock song references and often found myself listening to the songs after I finished reading each part. "Excuse Me", one of Blade's own songs, can also be found on YouTube. This adds an additional element to the story telling.

Music is an important part of our lives. Whether it is the first song you memorized every lyric to, the first song that reflected your feelings for your first crush, or the song that always makes you cry, music is life's heartbeat. Like the drum line in your favorite song or ballad, Solo has a pulse that will touch your heart. Solo is a book people of all ages can enjoy.
Good Points
Engaging story line
Lots of music references
Realistic characters
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