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Contributor(s): Alexander, Kwame, Hess, Mary Rand (Conductor)

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ISBN: 0310761913     ISBN-13: 9780310761914
Publisher: Blink
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Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: October 2018

Annotation: "Noah and his best friend Walt want to become cool, make the baseball team, and win over Sam, the girl Noah has loved for years. When Noah finds old love letters, Walt hatches a plan to woo Sam. But as Noah's love life and Walt's baseball career begin, the letters alter everything"--

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Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Novels in verse.
Best friends; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2018030417
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Series: Blink
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.75" H x 5.75" W x 1.50" (1.00 lbs) 448 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Spring)
This coming-of-age novel in verse centers on seventeen-year-old best friends Noah, who's white, and Walt (a.k.a. Swing), who's black. A conversational tone belies the multivalence of this story about the complexities of friendship, romance, patriotism, and prejudice. Life seems on the upswing until a wrenching, pulled-from-the-headlines incident shatters the boys' lives and underscores Noah's feeling that "America is sometimes / not so beautiful." Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by PW Annex Reviews (Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews)

High school junior Noah has an unrequited crush on his friend Samantha, and when he discovers a handful of love letters from the 1960s, he is inspired to create mixed-media poetry that expresses his feelings. Noah had never planned to share the work with Sam, but then his well-meaning best friend, Walt (aka Swing), sends one of the poems to her anonymously. Meanwhile, someone is peppering the town with American flags, causing tension in the community as residents speculate about the meaning of the gesture. Things come to a head when Sam's ex-boyfriend becomes a suspect in the flag mystery, and Sam is convinced that the accusation is racially motivated. Alexander and Hess (co-authors of Solo) embrace the malleability of free verse, heightening emotions with shifting styles and rhythms, and though Swing's voice steals the show, the bantering friendship he and Noah share also shines. Interspersed throughout, the discovered letters and Noah's art poetry highlight the power of physical artifacts to inspire action and provide a tie to flags' symbolic meaning: "The one thing it should mean for everyone is freedom. Mind, body, and soul. Red, white, and blue. America the beautiful. The greatest love story yet to be." Ages 13–up. (Oct.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 November)

Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Noah Wallace is not having any luck. He got cut from the baseball team, again. His secret crush on Samantha Worthington is unrequited. She is dating an oafish baseball rival. Noah's best friend, charismatic Walt Disney "Swing" Jones, has plans for them to get back onto the team and become the kings of cool. Noah gets his inspiration to woo Sam from love letters written during the 1960s, which he finds at a thrift store. The love letters and Swing's vast love for jazz music motivate Noah to repurpose the letters and make them his own. Swing has issues with his future stepfather, meets and falls for slightly older thrift store employee Divya, and awaits the return of his older brother, Moses, from military action in Afghanistan. Noah and Swing's party, an American flag mystery, and Moses's return significantly alter their lives forever. Alexander and Hess strike gold with this fun, witty, and intellectual YA novel. It is a free verse poetic narrative fused with collage art and manga influences. Noah's dialogue differs from the italicized dialogue of the other characters. Readers will fall in love with scene-stealer Swing. Jazz music fans will enjoy this focus and its intersections with art, history, baseball, and literature. VERDICT This important and recommended contemporary YA will inspire young people to find their own voices and take a swing at life. A must-have.—Donald Peebles, Brooklyn Public Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.
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