On the Come Up

On the Come Up

5.0 4
by Travis Hunter
     
 

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Growing up in the heart of the Atlanta ghetto, siblings DeMarco and Jasmine Winslow have developed a talent for survival. But if given the chance, they would do anything for a fresh start. . . .

By the time DeMarco was fifteen, being locked up was better than being at home. So whenever he got hungry or cold or just plain tired of living in the ghetto, heSee more details below

Overview

Growing up in the heart of the Atlanta ghetto, siblings DeMarco and Jasmine Winslow have developed a talent for survival. But if given the chance, they would do anything for a fresh start. . . .

By the time DeMarco was fifteen, being locked up was better than being at home. So whenever he got hungry or cold or just plain tired of living in the ghetto, he'd steal something and make sure he got caught, 'cause going to juvie was like going to heaven: video games, basketball courts, a big screen television, and three hot meals a day. And now that he's back in the hood, things seem worse than before.

Jasmine, DeMarco's twin sister, hasn't had the luxury of vacationing in juvie. She's had to balance being an honor roll student with fighting off advances from her mother's boyfriend. After her mom sides with her boyfriend, Jasmine's out on the streets and running with the DIVAs, a rough group of girls whose number one goal is to get paid. But when Jasmine finally gets her chance to break free, she learns the hard way that no one leaves the hood unscathed. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sixteen-year-old twins DeMarco and Jasmine Winslow trade off narrating this story of teens who rise above tough circumstances, thanks largely to golden opportunities that fall in their laps. DeMarco and Jasmine live with their alcoholic mother and three-year-old brother in the Bluff, one of Atlanta’s poorest neighborhoods. DeMarco is just getting out of juvie, where he’s been sent 32 times in four years for petty theft, after letting himself get caught (“Three hot meals a day was like dying and going to heaven”). Jasmine, meanwhile, has just been kicked out after standing up to their mother’s lecherous boyfriend; when she attends a superstar rapper’s party, she meets a photographer who wants to make her a model. DeMarco’s voice rings true as he tries to put together a life that doesn’t involve illegal activity, something that gets harder when Jasmine gets stabbed. While Jasmine and DeMarco are easy enough to root for, the story’s many wish-fulfillment elements and its fairy tale ending—in which a teacher steps in to change DeMarco’s life and Jasmine’s modeling career takes off—weaken its overall impact and believability. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—DeMarco, 16, is tired of Juvie, even though he has three meals, clean clothes, and a much nicer living environment than he has at home. Just out of jail and determined to change his life, he finds that not much has changed: his mother is drunk, there's a new guy in the house, and there's no food for three-year-old Devin. His twin sister, Jasmine, seems to be hanging out with the wrong crowd and may have even dropped out of school. Hunter gets the gritty details exactly right and will hook readers with the dilemmas and dreams of the twins, both of whom tell their stories. This is plain old wonderful fantasy: Life is hard for these teens, and then nice people help them. Jasmine becomes a model overnight, DeMarco gets accepted into the best prep school, their mom gets sober, and the new neighbors take care of Devin while everything gets sorted out. Surprisingly, it all works. What inner-city teen doesn't fantasize that things could change and be resolved that easily? A fast read, with a great cover, this is a definite quick pick for reluctant readers. Fans of Ni-Ni Simone's A Girl Like Me (Dafina, 2008), Babygirl Daniels's 16 on the Block (2009), and Darrien Lee's "Denim Diaries" series (both Urban Books) now have another author to get excited about.—Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, Oakland, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Part 'hood fairy tale, part slice of life, this warm but uneven chronicle sees a pair of twins from Atlanta achieve hard-won and unexpected successes. After his 32nd stay in juvenile prison, DeMarco, sporting a facial tattoo he gave himself, goes home determined to go back to school and stay out of trouble. He returns to the Bluff, the poor neighborhood where his family lives, and finds that his mother, an alcoholic, has been neglecting the house and his baby brother Devin. Meanwhile, DeMarco's twin, Jasmine, who narrates some of the chapters, has become involved with a group of dangerous girls and is being sexually threatened by her mother's boyfriend. After her new "friends" leave her at a high-class party, evidently drugged, Jasmine is rescued by a heroic gentleman who launches her into a modeling career that seems too good to be believed--but is never shown to be so. The large and diverse cast of characters, some developed better than others, adds depth to the portrayal of the Bluff, and the narrative makes many straightforward yet insightful observations about race, poverty and injustice. The book could benefit from another round of editing, however: A final section feels tacked on, and a few points of exposition are repeated unnecessarily. Despite some flaws, there is heart and wisdom to be found here. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758274403
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
10/25/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
782,241
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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