Ivy Hopper is a teen columnist who talks with authors and fans of books that are currently being read by today’s youth.
Hey, Girls! I just finished reading Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon.
UPSTATE, set in 1990s New York, opens with the chilling question from seventeen-year-old Antonio to his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Natasha: “Do you believe I killed my father?” Antonio and Natasha’s world is turned upside down, and their young love is put to the test when Antonio finds himself in jail, accused of a shocking crime. Antonio fights to stay alive on the inside, while on the outside, Natasha faces choices that will change her life. Over the course of a decade, they share a desperate correspondence.
Often, they have only each other to turn to as life takes them down separate paths and leaves them wondering if they will ever find their way back together. Startling, real and filled with raw emotion, Upstate is an unforgettable coming-of-age story with a message of undeniable hope. Brilliant and profoundly felt, it is destined to speak to generations of readers.
“It starts out strong and never lets go…It moved me to tears.”
Girls, when I tell you that this book was amazing, I mean the book was utterly amazing.
I could not put the book down. I read this book in one sitting and cried reading it.
I was not the only person who could not put the book down. This week a couple of my teen friends and I cried our eyes out as we read this book.
Here is what three of my teen friends had to say to me about Upstate.
Ivy: Why did you like this book?
Courtney: I felt like I knew Natasha and Antonio. They felt like friends of mine. I was impressed with the series of love letters that the book is written in. I love reading books that do not follow a traditional format.
Ivy: What was your favorite scene in the book?
Heather: My favorite scene was near the end when Antonio goes to talk to Natasha one last time. He tells her that he loves her and he is letting her go. I love the part when she tells him that she loves him as well but he must leave. I cried so hard when Antonio tears up all her love letters at the end so he can let her go. The book is breathtaking.
Ivy: What was your least favorite part?
Chris: There was not one part that I did not like.
Ivy: Did your feelings stay the same for the characters from beginning to end?
Courtney: My feelings changed. I started off hating Antonio [but] by the end of the book I found myself hating Natasha.
Ivy: Were you skeptical at first when I recommended that we read this book as a group?
Heather: Yes. I usually do not like to read books that are not told in a traditional narrative style. I also did not want to read a book that was set in a jail environment but it was not at all what I expected. I was pulled in from the beginning to the end. I found myself wanting more and more. I have become an instant fan of this writer and her books.
Ivy: What did you gain from reading this book?
Chris: I learned that it does not matter where you come from. Nothing can stop you from achieving dreams if you put your mind to it. I was moved by Natasha’s story and how her life changes. I was inspired how one thing kept leading to another in her life.
Ivy: Did you cry because the book was happy or because it made you sad?
Courtney: Both. I found the book to be inspiring but also really sad.
Ivy: What was it about Antonio’s character that made you like him?
Heather: The person that you find out Antonio is at the end of the book.
I was shocked by the revelation that comes later in the book about Antonio.
Ivy: Do you recommend this book to other teen girls?
Find out Chris’s answer by visiting www.cvweekly.com and clicking on the Meet Ivy Hopper tab.
Chris: Yes! You will be surprised at the twists and turns that are in this book.
Ivy: Who did you identify with more as a character?
Courtney: I loved the grandmother in the book. It was so real to life.
Ivy: Do you think the author ended the book in way that was satisfying to readers?
Heather: The book rung so true to life that it was scary.
Ivy: Why do you think other teen girls and boys should read this book?
Chris: I think this book should be read by everyone. It starts out with Antonio and Natasha in their teens but they become adults in the book. The journey that Antonio and Natasha go on in this book should be read by everyone.