Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess is a New York Times bestseller! Kirkus Reviews said Solo is, "A contemporary hero's journey, brilliantly told." Through the story of a young Black man searching for answers about his life, Solo empowers, engages, and encourages teenagers to move from heartache to healing, burden to blessings, depression to deliverance, and trials to triumphs.
Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he'd give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.
In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he's been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.
- Is written by New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Book Award-winner Kwame Alexander
- Showcases Kwame's signature intricacy, intimacy, and poetic style, by exploring what it means to finally go home
- An #OwnVoices novel that features a BIPOC protagonist on a search for his roots and identity
- Received great reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus.
If you enjoy Solo, check out Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.
About the Author
Mary Rand Hess has been writing and editing professionally for over twenty years. She writes everything from poetry, novels, and picture books to screenplays and teleplays. In addition to her writing and editing, she has had the privilege of running an independent publishing company, where she works with award-winning, high-profile figures in the literary, sports, and entertainment industries. Over the years, she has also taught creative writing, drama, art, and Sunday school.
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty-five books, including Rebound, the follow-up to his Newbery medal-winning middle grade novel, The Crossover. Some of his other works include Booked, which was longlisted for the National Book Award, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game of Life, Swing, and the picture books Out of Wonder and The Undefeated, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Caldecott Medal, a Newbery Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.
A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The NCTE/Charlotte Huck Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. He believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people around the world through The Write Thing, his K-12 Writing Workshop. Kwame is the founder of Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Betrayed by those closest to him and stunned by a family secret, 17-year-old Blade Morrison flees his comfortable but chaotic life as the son of a drug-addicted rock star. Seeking answers and closure, Blade travels to the Ghanaian village of Konko, where he gains new perspective on family and belonging. Writing in free verse, Alexander and Hess, who recently collaborated on Animal Ark, strongly communicate Blade's frustration and disappointment ("I have taken for granted/ the palm trees of Cali... planted by Spanish missionaries/ in the 18th century.... They don't belong here./ And neither do I"). Lyrics from Blade's songs (and interspersed references to songs from Lenny Kravitz, Metallica, and others) emphasize the importance of music in his life, both as a link to his family and as a way to express himself. Blade's interactions with his father, a Ghanaian young woman named Joy, and a child named Sia are especially poignant, so much so that these secondary characters can draw focus. But many readers will identify with Blade's struggle to find his place in a family where he feels like an outsider. -- PW--Publishers Weekly
'Hand to music lovers, reluctant readers, fans of spoken word poetry, those who appreciate Alexander's work, or anyone seeking a tale of self-discovery.'--School Library Journal
'A contemporary hero's journey, brilliantly told.'--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
'A gorgeously lyrical and passionate meditation on family and identity. Solo is Kwame Alexander at his finest.'--Nicola Yoon, New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything
'From the lyric verse to the driving beat of the storytelling, this book is music, and beautiful music.'--Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of The You I've Never Known
'A rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll.'--Booklist, starred review