From the Publisher
“A realistic love story that's set against an urban backdrop as gritty as its characters are memorable.” People magazine
“Heartbreaking and true...I'd read it again just for the power of the language.” Dorothy Allison, National Book Award Finalist and author of Bastard Out of Carolina
“Wild and beautiful...The story is told using the epistolary form with brilliant skill not seen since The Color Purple.” Sapphire, author of Push
“A literary gem. Upstate is a stunning debut. Completely unforgettable.” E. Lynn Harris, author of What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
“Upstate is intimate, wrenching...a story about love, surviving love, and the forgiveness that only love brings.” Achy Obejas, author of Memory Mambo and Days of Awe
“A gripping debut...I was thoroughly impressed.” Mary Monroe, author of God Still Don't Like Ugly
“Kalisha Buckhanon has unleashed brilliance in this debut novel. Upstate is creative, raw, and honest.” Darnella Ford, author of Rising and Crave
“A modern love story that is real and raw in its humor and tragedy.” Zelda Lockhart, winner of the Hurston/Wright Award and author of Fifth Born
Like any good love story, this one's riddled with conflict from the get-go. Antonio and Natasha, two Harlem teenagers, are deeply in love with each other, but their relationship is put to the test when Antonio goes to jail just before their senior year for killing his father, a crime he may or may not have committed. Written in the form of letters between Antonio and Natasha, Buckhanon's debut novel captures the young lovers' anger, hope and frustration. "I got even more down too when my peoples came to visit me... Still young, still fresh with them shiny eyes and bright faces.... And all I could think while looking at you all at the same time I was looking at me was I look old, I look sad, I look used," laments Antonio in one letter. As the years pass, of course, both of their lives alter dramatically, and their feelings for each another inevitably change as well. The letters are fluent, candid and colloquial, though occasionally readers may crave dialogue and a fresh point of view. Still, this is a moving, uplifting story of love and hope in the face of adversity. Agent, Tracy Sherrod. (Jan. 13) Forecast: Blurbs from Sapphire and Dorothy Allison and an eight-city author tour should help get this promising first novel off to a good start. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Set in the 1990s, this debut features Harlem teenagers Antonio, who has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for killing his father, and his bright and ambitious girlfriend, Natasha. With Antonio in jail, the two maintain their intense relationship through the written correspondence that makes up the text. Antonio is angry, confused, and possessive, and Natasha gradually refuses to let him control her life, attending college and becoming a lawyer. Both funny and sad, their letters are rich with anecdotes about friends and family while detailing their own emotions and actions; as the characters mature, Buckhanon skillfully and believably changes tone. Antonio appears to be the less sympathetic character until a last-minute revelation about the killing, and his final rejection by Natasha (though he's started a new life after completing his sentence) makes the ending painful. Recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/04.]-Elaine Bender, El Camino Coll., Torrance, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.