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Publisher's Summary

Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess is a New York Times best seller! 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. And the audio is narrated by Kwame Alexander himself, featuring original music that ties to the book.

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.

Solo:

  • Is written by New York Times best-selling 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.  

©2017 Kwame Alexander (P)2017 Zondervan

What listeners say about Solo

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  • Rachael Street
  • 06-06-2018

Phenomenal Book

This book was phenomenal! I didn't want the book to end! I think this should be made into a movie! This is my third Kwame Alexander book, and I enjoyed all of them!

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  • Preston Finley
  • 29-04-2018

Outstanding

This was an incredible book written in poetry form with an incredible story weaved with music.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Meg
  • 18-10-2017

Rewind and replay

This story and music left you wanting more. Kwame, Mary, and Randy really nailed it!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Manny and April Gallegos
  • 19-01-2020

wow

You can feel that beat, the Passion, the love comment just the rhythm in his voice

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  • sarit lisogorsky
  • 22-05-2019

Cliches and stereotypes

This book has not offered any original idea, story line or feelings. It’s an assortment of cliches and stereotypes, which I’ve seen, read and heard before. Not to be mean, if it wasn’t free I would have returned it and asked for my money back. I recommend it for people who love celebrity TV shows or those who love soap operas.

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  • Mr. Musale
  • 21-05-2019

Nice storyline

I loved it. The ending was a bit devastating but I liked the shift from the Hollywood scene to remote Ghana. I commiserated with the unfortunate events that Blade had to go through. In the end, in as much as he felt like he was starting a new chapter, it could be seen in his songs and thoughts the pain of losing Sia and the hope of finding his real mother and his father doing his best to win him over. I liked Joy and the way she handled the relationship with Blade. All in all, it's a nice book.

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  • auggie wormley
  • 24-04-2019

Awesome

I loved the songs and the book it’s self I recommend to older kids though but other then that I give it a 5 out of 5

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  • Adam Shields
  • 14-02-2019

My first Alexander book, but I will read more.

My first narrative verse book was Brown Girl Dreaming. I have been looking forward to reading Kwame Alexander since because I knew that he wrote novels that are written in verse. There are others as well, that I will make my way to eventually.

I have never really liked poetry. But I know that part of it is because I do not like reading slow. I want to read fast and keep moving. Solo and Brown Girl Dreaming were well worth reading. With both I have started with the audiobooks so that I can hear them read properly. I will go back eventually and read them in print, but the right reading of poetry I think is part of my problem with poetry.

Solo is also a musical book. So in addition to the narrative verse, it is about a musician and it includes original music written for the book. The audiobook includes that, which is yet another reason to listen to the audiobook.

Blade is 17, the school salutatorian. A natural with a guitar, and the son of a famous but addicted rock star father. His mother died when he was 9 and he has not gotten over that, nor has his father or older sister. Blade resents his family even as he loves them. His father has given him wealth and many things, including a love of music and access to it. But he also has messed up his life, including the fact that his girlfriend’s father will not let them see one another because of the screw up that is his Dad.

In some ways this is a fairly predictable book once a few plot points are laid out. Blade is only 17. He is self centered, does not have a lot of empathy for his father or his girlfriend’s father. He wants the relational stuff to come as easy as the money in his house does. But it does not.

You know that there is going to be a point of conflict that pushes Blade to grow up. There was more focus on the romantic elements than I would have preferred. It felt authentic. But I do appreciate coming of age books that are more about emotional maturity than about romance. This is a PG book, no actual sex happens, but there are situations were it is desired and attempted, but thwarted.

There is also something that I have found compelling about stories of musicians. I have no desire to be a real musician, although at one point I was a music education major. It would be nice to really make music, but the modern world of music that involves a lot of self promotion, a public life and a ton of touring. I would hate that reality. But the passion to communicate deeper emotions and thoughts does appeal. The best of this book is the communication of what it means to be gifted with ability to a real musician.

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  • Dee Mitch
  • 02-01-2019

Incredible story and performance!

I don’t usually enjoy when an author narrates their own fiction. This is the exception!

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  • Booksforall93
  • 18-08-2020

Can't stop listening to it

This book follows Blade Morrison as he faces time and time again his father being drunk or high. Blade doesn't want to be followed by the cameras and the papparazzi but he finds solace with his girlfriend Chapel, who's parents have forbidden her to see him because of Rutherford, Blade's father.
One day during a massive argument Storm, Blade's sister, shouts the family secret that brings Blade's world crashing down around him. The majority of the story follows Blade as he tries to come to terms with what has been said.

This book is beautiful and sad I found myself laughing and crying along with the characters. Kwame Alexander has written this book so perfectly in the form of poetry, and it just works so incredibly well. One of the most beautiful things about this book is the songs. Kwame himself both wrote and sings the songs in the audiobook verison and they perfectly sit within the storyline

I really enjoyed the relationship between Rutherford and Blade, it's difficult and raw, but it's real. They grow together and they heal together.
Instead of me recommending people to read this book I advise people to listen to this book because of the rhythm and pace at which Kwame reads it. There is so much power in the way it is read I think it's absolutely stunning. I found myself listening to the songs over and over because I absolutely love them!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.