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3112064,122 (3.78)10
""Baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father?"" "So begins Upstate, a story told through letters between seventeen-year-old Antonio and his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Natasha, set in the 1990s in New York. 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."--BOOK JACKET.… (altro)
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Best book I've read in a long time... I didn't expect it to be this good. I just finished reading it and I'm still crying. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon is written as a series of letters from two young people. The boy, Antonio is at first in jail and then in prison for the murder of his father. His girlfriend, Natasha lives and goes to school in Harlem, New York. This was an incredible reading experience as these two teenagers at first express all the passion they feel between them, talk about their lives growing up in Harlem, and of course, worry and plan for a future when Antonio is out of jail. Antonio is, at heart, a good kid. His father was a brutal man and regularly beat his wife and kids. When Antonio stepped between his father and his mother things went too far.

I felt very much like a fly on the wall as Antonio struggles to keep his sanity while being locked up. He eventually gets his high school equivalency and works as a cleaner in the prison. Due to both his prison record and his lack of education, it is obvious that Antonio will be struggling for the rest of his life. Natasha is a good student and her world starts to widen when she first gets awarded a school trip to Paris, France and then realizes that she is smart enough to apply to the better universities, and doesn’t have to settle for a city college. Their letters show this growing apart and when Natasha leaves for college, they decide to remain “just friends”. The years pass and the letter get less frequent but one or the other stays in touch. Although their lives have gone in such different directions, they are bound together by their fondness for each other and the memories that they share.

I thought the author did an amazing job with this story. This epistolary novel allowed the characters to feel genuine as they shared their inner thoughts, feelings and desires. Their love story is believable, as to was their eventual growing apart. A powerful coming-of-age story that gives the reader an insider’s look at the lives of young black people during the 1990’s. Sadly, I don’t think much has changed. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 25, 2017 |
Kalisha Buchkhanon's Upstate was a recommendation from two of my former students. For two years, these two ladies hounded me about reading this young adult novel. I promised them before they graduated that I would read it, and as their graduation date loomed over me, I finally did (under the wire, but still). I was engrossed and enthralled by the decade-long correspondence between seventeen-year-old Antonio and sixteen-year-old Natasha. He was locked up for the murder of his father and Natasha tries to stay by his side through many distinct circumstances that usually arise in these situations. Upstate is a great novel that captures young love as it changes into adulthood, and I highly recommend it.

At first, I found the language hokey, and I wanted to correct the grammar, but it was written as though they were teenagers writing to each other. However, once I got over that, it was one of the quickest reads I have done in quite some time. I read every day for twelve days at the start of May (along with simultaneously listening to Beyonce's Lemonade, which is oddly a great companion piece, especially "All Night" and "Love Drought") and I noticed the sophistication in the storytelling. As their relationship started to morph, so did the writing. As Natasha graduated high school, studied in France, and persevered through college, we see how arduous her side of story was. Likewise, Antonio's changes are noteworthy because the reader witnesses the development of a young man who is taking responsibility for his actions. It ends up becoming a page-turner, especially as time goes on and they become the adults we predicted that they would.

Buckhanon has created a story that anyone can identify with, regardless of race, culture, or age. She has pinpointed the pain and ecstasy of being a teenager in love, much in the vein of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. The central ideas of growing up, love, and dealing with the ramifications of actions is key to loving this book. In the end, she thoroughly explores themes related to these ideas by investigating how Natasha and Antonio's changes are a natural part of becoming an independent, full-bodied individual. Their conflict is central to making them relatable characters who we see adapt to the world around them and figure out who they are. I enjoyed reading Upstate and I give a huge shout-out to Darlene and Nicole for recommending it two years ago.

By Mr. Frade

STRUCTURE FOR AP LITERATURE STUDENTS
Paragraph 1.) Generally Discuss the book - what's it about? Make sure to mention the author and the main characters as well as arriving to what you think about the book.
Paragraph 2.) Your thoughts on the book and its story - Make sure to address what you thought about the characters, the writing, the storyline, and any big ideas that the book was trying to get to.
Paragraph 3.) Analyze the BIG IDEAS - Make sure to address THEME as well as any other literary elements that you might have noticed.
*Make sure grammar, spelling, formatting, and other presentational issues are checked before you publish (you have many opportunities to preview your work before you publish - I should know because I checked this post about six times before I actually published it ).
*Send Mr. Frade an alert at chad.frade@uasdc.org ( )
  MistaFrade | Jul 7, 2016 |
I bought an audio recording of the book at a used book sale and decided to play it in my car as I travel the southern roads of Alabama. The story surprised me with interesting characters told between a young couple whom are separated by incarceration and their lives are illustrated through letters to one another. To listen to Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon on audio is the best way you can actually hear the maturity in the main characters, Natasha's voice as the story progresses just like she did in the story.

The cover of this book caught my eye with a white butterfly on a red background. I have owned this book for several years and the only hesitation in reading it was on the assumption that it's of an urban nature based on its title "Upstate" referring to the New York and more precisely the prison. Urban is not my preferred genre, therefore I put off reading it until seven years later.

This book invoked so many emotions within me, sorrowful, proudness, shame and bittersweet to name a few. This was a very reflective story on love, pain and coming of age.

I'm anxiously awaiting to read her next novel, "Solemn" ( )
  altima313 | Jun 9, 2016 |
Someone told me before reading it that it was typical...and they were right. Everything I expected to happen, happened. I just wanted to be surprised just once. ( )
1 vota kjdavis87 | Apr 18, 2010 |
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Dedicated to my Mother and Father, another great love story
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Baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father?
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""Baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father?"" "So begins Upstate, a story told through letters between seventeen-year-old Antonio and his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Natasha, set in the 1990s in New York. 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."--BOOK JACKET.

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Kalisha Buckhanon è un Autore di LibraryThing, un autore che cataloga la sua biblioteca personale su LibraryThing.

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