Talent Night

( 1 )

Overview

Rodney Suyama has two impossible dreams... to be a rap star and to go out with gorgeous Ivy Ramos.

Set in the nineties at the dawn of rap, a witty and determined young man gets in touch with his past while taking control of his future in this romantic, poignant and hilarious novel by Jean Davies Okimoto.

"A celebration of diversity." -Signal

"A story of ethnic pride, first love and determination to overcome stereotypes. Okimoto's talents give this book the same wide appeal as ...

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Talent Night

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Overview

Rodney Suyama has two impossible dreams... to be a rap star and to go out with gorgeous Ivy Ramos.

Set in the nineties at the dawn of rap, a witty and determined young man gets in touch with his past while taking control of his future in this romantic, poignant and hilarious novel by Jean Davies Okimoto.

"A celebration of diversity." -Signal

"A story of ethnic pride, first love and determination to overcome stereotypes. Okimoto's talents give this book the same wide appeal as her earlier titles Jason's Women and Molly By Any Other Name." -School Library Journal

". . . humor and empathy that will engage the reader." -The ALAN Review

Rodney, an aspiring Japanese American rap musician, learns about his heritage and the importance of being oneself after trying to impress a rich uncle and a beautiful classmate.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rodney Suyama, 17, has two goals: to be the first Asian rap star and to win the affection of his classmate Ivy Ramos. But she already has a boyfriend-the school's football hero. And Rodney's sister, Suzanne, a college sophomore, discourages his musical ambitions (``You gotta be black. They're the only guys that are cool rappers,'' she tells him). Then a paired assignment ignites a promising friendship with Ivy. On the home front, Rodney and Suzanne join forces to convince an estranged great-uncle that they've retained their Japanese heritage; an impending visit will decide if the siblings will receive his inheritance. Okimoto (My Mother Is Not Married to My Father) portrays varying degrees of racism-from a hurtful slur to the grievous U.S. internment camps of WWII. The dialogue and Rodney's bouncy first-person narration include both contemporary teenage lingo and Japanese vocabulary. Although the plot is essentially slim, it's strengthened by Rodney's wit, determination and sunny outlook. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
The ALAN Review - Darien Fisher-Duke
Rodney Suyama has a lot on his mind. Will he find the courage to enter the school talent show? If he does, will people accept an Asian rapper? Rodney dreams of the beautiful Ivy and how he could comfort her if she would break up with her football player boyfriend. A visit from rich Uncle Hideki might mean a financial windfall - if the Suyama family is traditional enough for him. Okimoto, author of Molly, By Any Other Name, again explores the confusion of growing up and the additional feelings that come with a minority heritage. Family members play an important role in Okimoto's books, as they struggle to come to terms with changing relationships. Molly herself makes a brief appearance in this book, and readers who enjoy reading about Molly are sure to like Rodney too. The plot doesn't contain many surprises, but humor and empathy will engage the reader.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Rodney Suyama, a Japanese American/Polish American is in love with Ivy Ramos, a Phillipino American/African American. Rodney wants to be a rap star and also wants to inherit money from his Uncle Hideki who will leave it all to a sumo wrestler if he feels his nephew isn't Japanese enough. The author, married to a Japanese American herself, does some tap dancing and wrestling over the problems of mixed heritage teenagers trying to find their place in America.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-A fast-paced, humorous story of ethnic pride, first love, and determination to overcome stereotypes. Senior Rodney Suyama (he's half-Polish, half-Japanese) has two goals: to become a famous Asian-American rap star and to date beautiful Ivy Ramos. Talent Night at his high school in Seattle and a possible inheritance from his Japanese uncle from California may give him the chance to realize his first dream. In order to receive cash from their uncle, however, Rodney and his sister Suzanne must convince the stuffy, narrow-minded older man that they have an interest in their Japanese heritage. Rodney must also overcome the stereotype that only Blacks can be rap singers. Winning Ivy (she's half-Black, half-Filipino) away from the star football player proves to be a challenge. When the two are assigned a school project together, a friendship grows and Ivy encourages Rodney's musical goal, eventually becoming part of his Talent Night act. References to local landmarks will please Seattle readers, but Okimoto's talents as a contemporary YA writer gives this book the same wide appeal as her earlier titles, Jason's Women (Little, 1986) and Molly by Any Other Name (Scholastic, 1990; o.p.).-Judy R. Johnston, Auburn High School, WA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982316795
  • Publisher: Endicott and Hugh Books
  • Publication date: 7/30/2011
  • Pages: 148
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2005

    What's wrong with a Japanese rapper?

    I'm not Japanese but I don't like it when people said that they can't rap. This book is really good and I couldn't put it down the first time I got it. I've read it twice. This book is great. Read it!!

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