Sunday, November 6, 2011


 Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon
Image courtesy of Library Thing

Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. 

2006 Audio Publishers Association Award in Literary Fiction
2006 American Library Association ALEX Award

Annotation:  Antonio and Natasha are a boyfriend and girlfriend whose high school lives are turned upside down when Antonio get locked up. They both must battle to survive in jail and a tough neighborhood in Harlem respectively. United in spirit through their love letters, they fight to hold on their dreams and their love. Together they struggle to grow up and stay positive in challenging circumstances as they both work towards a better life.  

Book Talk:

Natasha is a typical junior in high school, and like a lot of teenagers, she is in love. Not a crush, not puppy love; she has found the real thing, true love.  Her boyfriend Antonio knows it too. He even writes her love poems:

March 26, 1990

Dear Natasha,

Nubian Princess
Always got my back
Totally real and fresh
Antonio’s woman for life
Smile like sunshine
Hair like silk
All the Woman I need

    Love you forever,

The only difference is, Antonio sends them from a jail Upstate where he is awaiting trial for the murder of his father. He won’t say too much about it, but he begs Natasha to believe in his innocence.  Antonio wants this shorty to be there through his incarceration and Natasha wants to wait for her man. However, neither one realizes just how much they will both miss if they stay together while Antonio is behind bars. Can their love last through this ultimate test?

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