Customer Reviews for

Upstate

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2007

    This Is My Life Summed Up

    I am currently in a relationship with the most wonderful man, who is actually in prison. I can relate to this book so much. It's so hard without that other person and this book made me cry. It was like someone else actually understood my emotions. How I miss him, while I can only talk to him in letters. It's a heartbreaking story, but it's life. I definatly recommend it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2007

    Not the average Fairy Tale!

    Upstate by Kalisha Buckhannon is a heart felt and touching book. It always has you wondering, 'What could possibly be said in the next letter?' Through the entire or at least most of the book I always thought I had an idea of just how the story might turn out. But every time what I thought would happen never even occurred. What I enjoyed most about the book was that unlike the average teen urban fiction books, this one did not have to happy ever after fairy tale ending. It had a very realistic conclusion. As I'm reading this book at 3:30 this morning, on Antonio's last letter all I could say was no Antonio, NO!!! I was taken so far back and so surprised and hurt all at the same time, it is unexplainable. You were never able to predict what happened and the book always took that turn that you would never wanted to see occur. That was one of my favorite things about the book because, you never ever could say well at the end....and that was what Actually happened. Cause there was a point in the book where I honestly thought, Natasha and Antonio were going to get through this happily ever after. At the beginning, all I could say was, 'Man this is just another average good love story where everybody gets what they want and ends up living happily ever after together.' Boy was I Wrong! There was also a point where I thought nothing else exciting could happen in the book but Antonio dying, but luckily neither occurred. Yet, this was still the best book I have read so far in my lifetime. Although it did not end happily ever after as a whole, the book was still encouraging. It showed you no matter what your circumstances you can do everything and overcome anything. I loved Ms. Buckhannon's analysis on life and us being puppets. I loved how Natasha accomplished great things in life (although I had a few words I wished I could have shared with her on her last letter's first sentence).I loved how Antonio pulled through and was trying to do well in the end. I love how, 'He finally let her Go.' I believe he truly had to finally let her go, to truly get a good hold on his new life. When I read the last paragraph of his last letter, I cried because the letters between Antonio and Natasha were or seemed to be the only things keeping them together or connected. And somewhere in all of our minds(readers, Antonio and Natasha) something just did not want to let the past go and move on, but this was a step that needed to be taken to make life better for the both of them, because holding on to the past does nothing but halt to possibilities of your future. And in the process of becoming a man, Antonio finally realized that there had already been enough road blocks in his future, so he did something about the one he did have power to control and, 'Finally let it go.' I don't think Antonio, Natasha, or we (as readers) were ready to see them let go and live apart. They grew from the teenagers who thought they were in love, to adults who realized they were in Life.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

    UPSTATE is a powerful, moving story told in the form of letters written by Antonio and Natasha, two Harlem teens who are seventeen and sixteen years old, respectively, when the story starts. The first letter is from Antonio to his girlfriend Natasha, written from jail, asking if she believes what everyone else does: that Antonio murdered his father. <BR/><BR/>No matter what Natasha believes or what the truth is about what happened on that night, Antonio is convicted of the crime and goes to a prison in upstate New York (hence the title), sentenced to ten years. Ten years of just struggling to survive, clinging to his letters from Natasha, his lifeline even if they can't, realistically, be together forever, no matter what they believe as optimistic teenagers when Antonio first goes to jail. Natasha, on the other had, isn't having an easy time of growing up and becoming a real adult. She's facing tough choices, probably almost as desperate for the next letter as Antonio. <BR/><BR/>This is an emotional story, a love story, but a real one, not a happily-ever-after, "no problems whatsoever" story like a Disney movie. The characters in UPSTATE are just as real as the story, and Antonio's and Natasha's authentic voices are a great addition to this novel. <BR/><BR/>Usually, I am not a big fan of novels written in letter form (or e-mail or instant message form, as is sometimes now the case), but Kalisha Buckhanon's novel is certainly an exception to that. It is very well-written, with believable characters that make this story what it is: fantastic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    Classic Love Story!

    A classic love story so real that I can feel it! The letters of love shared between Antonio and Natasha illustrated that young love is just as legitimate and wholesome as the love shared between two grown adults. The difficulty of expressing their true feelings, the hardship of understanding each other¿s worlds as well as keeping their promise of a future together all played out during the most ominous of circumstances. Throughout this novel, Antonio was incarcerated for the murder of his father leaving behind his youth, innocence, family, future and, true love, Natasha. The author took us on a journey into the mind of a man living in with no choices and having to face the repercussions of his actions each and every day of his term. Imagine having your freedom and choices stripped from you at this exact moment¿you couldn¿t come and go as you please, eat what you wanted to eat, go to a movie, take a leisurely stroll down the block or even mediate in peace. This is what Antonio had to face as we woke up each day behind bars while knowing that his family and friends whom loved him were suffering on the outside. I¿m not oblivious to how an incarceration affects the inmate and their family¿I too have family members in the system and it is a struggle for everyone involved. This author innovatively told the story of this boy¿s growth into manhood and told the story of the lives of those around him. The simplicity of Kalisha¿s approach to storytelling¿using letters exchanged between two torn lovers¿is unparalleled! But I am not surprised by her ingenious style after reading this book and, her recent release, Conception. Looking forward to seeing more beautiful work from this author!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2007

    Best Book Ever!!

    I've very picky when it comes to reading but from the first page of Upstate I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. Natasha and Antonio feel so real and the ending... WOW. Only book that ever made me cry!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2006

    A Message Conveyed through letters

    Kalisha Buckhanon's book 'Upstate' conveys a message to our hip-hop age young adults through the art of letters. The main Character Antonio is accused and then pleads guilty of manslaughter in the death of his father. He receives 10 years in prison but the sentence isn't the only thing he has to come to grips with. He is locked up at a prime age (17) of learning how to become a man. He is trying to maintain a relationship with his girlfriend Natasha at her prime age of discovering there is another world out there. This is a heart felt story with urban or street life as the backdrop. The letters between the lovers bring to life the past, present and future mistakes along with adulthood. As you read you start seeing the growth of both and the directions that both are going. This book is a very good read for adults but especially for our youth of today. The story is both innocent and pure with no overly explicit scenarios. Bravo!!! Ms. Buckhanon for creating a true to life urban love story

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2006

    Julissa Polanco's Review on Upstate

    Upstate by Kalisha Buckhannon is a novel of coming of age. It¿s based on friendship and love. It¿s also about forgiveness and whether two teenagers love will survive. Many people can identify themselves with this book. I know girls who have had their boyfriends locked up. They know how hard it is waiting for them and just writing letters. The main characters are Antonio and Natasha. He's seventeen and she's sixteen. They keep their love alive by communicating through letters. They write to each other on the good and rough times. He's in jail worrying about his family and whether he will come out. She's outside worrying on whether to wait for him, get another boyfriend, and school. Both of them are honest to each other even though they conceal things from each other. However, the answer for them is time. What attracted me to this book was the cover. It is blood red with a pink butterfly in the middle. I think it's an appropriate cover because it symbolizes something about New York and Natasha. I truly enjoyed reading this novel. I cannot compare myself to them because i haven't experienced anything like it. Only maybe that I live in New York. Besides, it just let's you experience their true feelings through these amazing, detailed, and intimate letters. I recommend this book because it makes you feel part of it. You can be judgmental if you want and say,¿ Why did she say that?' Or you can just identify yourself with it. Besides, it was a new reading experience because I never had read anything like it. Just read the book and you won¿t regret it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2006

    The Best Book I Have read in A LONG Time

    I loved this book! This was the first book i had ever read and cried. i could not put it down. i had to pry myself away to go to sleep. What Antonio and Natasha had was real. it shows what love goes through when one is given a sentece upstate. It showed how hard two people got to fight to keep it going when one is lockdown. Especially when it is young love. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a young real story about not only about love but life as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    Prepare your self for an emotion ride that will not be forgotten!

    This book was beautiful. It gives you an outlook into a man who is trying to protect his family, even if it means spending most of his life in prison. Also the one person who truly loves is their for him every step of the way. So he never has to go through it alone and he always has love. Even though he is locked UPSTATE!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2005

    Love on Lockdown

    Just like an artist who carefully chooses just the right brush to paint a beautiful work of art, Kalisha Buckhanon is a true artist with words, who has prudently chosen the epistolary technique and created a poignant tale bursting with emotion. In her debut novel, UPSTATE, Buckhanon immediately sets the tone with a splash of suspense in the very first line: 'Baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father?' {page 3} Written as ongoing letters between Natasha and Antonio, two teenagers experiencing their first love, UPSTATE captures candid, raw emotion of the lovebirds and their ten-year challenging journey through life while Antonio is incarcerated. One day Antonio's biggest dilemma is passing Mr. Cook's English class and the next it's surviving being sent upstate, where he's serving time for the murder of his own father. In his heartfelt letters, Antonio often expresses his undying love and lust for Natasha. He also describes what he's going through in jail, from suspecting officers of reading his letters to feelings of isolation and fear. 'I feel alone, like I'm on the outside of the world looking in. Like a rocket ship going to the moon, staring out of the cockpit window at the earth I'm gonna die in here. I'm so alone, I'm gonna die.' {page 63} Natasha responds, professing her love, encouraging her man and keeping him up to date on all that is going on at school and with their friends. She also shares her feelings of sadness and loneliness. A particularly sad instance was her having to go to the prom without a date. As time goes on, the frequency of their letters decreases and the two begin to mature. Antonio pursues a GED while locked up and Natasha visits Paris on a student program and later goes to college. Challenges begin to mount as time and separation test their love. While UPSTATE is indeed a beautiful, creative work, I had a couple issues with it. Granted, it is a good, solid read but not necessarily a well-rounded story. Although, letters provide intimate discourse and _expression of one's innermost feelings, they also can be limiting, forcing an author to leave out parts of a story and viewpoints other than those of the letter writers. While I enjoyed the fresh spin of urban fiction, I longed for real interaction and dialogue from other characters, such as Antonio's mother. I had a strong desire to know more about this woman and what drove her frame of mind, before her son went to prison and after. Also, it might be a minor inconsistency, but was the character's name Antonio Michael or Michael Antonio? Nonetheless, UPSTATE is truly a moving tale about love, loss, sacrifice and survival. I look forward to the next creation from this literary artist. Reviewed by Joan Burke Stanford for Loose Leaves Book Review

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2005

    TOUCHING VOICES OF YOUNG LOVE

    The use of exchanged letters is a literary tool that has been used most effectively in a number of novels. What most quickly comes to mind is the recent A Venetian Affair, the compelling story of two star crossed lovers. Once again we are torn by the emotional story of young love, although this time in a very different setting and brought to vivid live by the voices of Chadwick Boseman and Heather Simms. Listeners are captured by Antonio's opening lines to Natasha, 'Baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father?' Born and bred in Harlem the teenagers are madly in love. Their idyll comes to an abrupt end when Antonio is jailed for the killing of his father. And so begins a ten year long correspondence. He is on the inside, desperately trying to stay alive. She is on the outside without him and facing a number of choices - all options that aren't available to him. Of course, both of them will change during this experience and due to the passage of time. The question is whether or not they can ever recapture the innocence and joy of the love they once shared. Upstate is a brave, touching, sometimes gritty debut novel with broad appeal. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    Wonderful and Provocative

    I originally picked up this book at a used book store about six years ago. It took me another two years after purchasing it to actually sit down and read it. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. The story of young love, loss and reconciliation kept me turning pages nonstop. It is an easy read. Eventually, I sold the book at the same store I picked it up at, but it was one of those books that instilled itself so deep in my soul that I regretted my decision almost instantly. But, after all of these years, I find myself purchasing it again. This story is still rooted deeply in my heart, and I'm excited to reunite with this old friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Devotion

    Well I'm looking for a good book to read and then I come apond this one. I'm going on what the comments are posting because everyone that I have read has expressed that this book is off the hook! So with that being said, I'm going to cop this book and I truly do hope that I enjoy this book just as much as you guys have. Happy reading Nook Lovers.

    Devotion143

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    My first chapter book in high school

    When i read this book i fell in love with it thnx to my friend amanda always recomending the best books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Amazing

    Amazing book. A lot better than i thought it would be.

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  • Posted September 15, 2010

    Great read

    I really liked this book. It was very interesting . I felt like I could actually feel like I was there in the story . It relates to people in real life and thats what I like about this book " upstate " . It's very mature, but I think people my age ( 14 - 18 ) could take this seriously . I liked the romance between the two couples Atonino and Natasha and how Natasha sacerficed everything to see him in jail . I also liked how it foreshadowed in the book. I recommend this to people especially teenagers who are caught up in drama and romance . Ir relates to a lot of teenagers these days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

    Great Audio Book

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. Twenty years ago, I was a teenage girl in a similar situation and the story really resonated with me. The epistolary format was fresh, the characters were well developed, the emotions were true, and the acting was superb. I listen to audio books four days a week while commuting and I put "Upstate" in my personal top five list.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

    This story made me cry!

    Reading this novel made me realize, not only how hard it was/ and probably still is for young people these days, but it made me more appreciative of the one I love as well. I became very emotional reading this book because it kinda forces the reader to see the real-live cruel world of love and life. This doesn't have that beautiful disney ending that everyone (including me) looks for at the end of hardship in a book. This was actuality and reality, and it made me feel like this really happened. It made me feel like this can happen to anyone (including me). I love the guy I'm with right now but I hardly get to see him. This book just made me more desperate for keeping our relationship alive and holding on to it. I recommend this book for teens and above. This book will really get a hold of you.

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  • Posted May 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty Good

    This book was very realistic. It was a change of pace for me, because I've never read a book about this subject before or people who come from Harlem. I'm a white person who lives in rural Idaho, so it was very interesting to take a trip into a different inner-city culture and see what it's like for other teens my age. It's a very different lifestyle from mine, and it was an eye-opener. I enjoyed it. The author did a good job with this one...although, I didn't like the ending too much, but that's only because it's a pretty realistic ending and sometimes it's hard to admit that a sad ending is a good one...but I recommend this book for anyone, especially anyone who lives in the city or who comes from an under-privilaged background. It is inspirational to the effect that it encourages you to follow your dreams and that you can become something great, like Natasha did. :)

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Upstate - Diana

    I really liked this book because it is different from all the other books i've ever read. It caught my attention with the style of writing the author used to write in each chapter ( each chapter is written in a letter form to a person ) This novel allows the reader to put him or herself in the characters position and really imagine how the scene looks like. Without a doubt i would reccomend this novel to anyone who is 15 or older. What I liked about this novel the most is that it kept me eager to know what was going to happen next, I hardly ever have this anxious feeling with novels and this one did it for me.

    It was a Great Read !

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