“Man, if this day is any example, this summer is going to be the wackest ever. Been stuck in this hot apartment all day because word on the street is that Junior wants to “talk” to me about quitting his sister. Vanessa and her crocodile tears. That’s just one reason why I don’t go out with her no more. Still I’m not trying to get jumped so I needed to stay low for a few days. I thought no big deal seeing Ma and Gloria usually go do compra on Saturday mornings and manage to stay out of my hair for a while. But for whatever reason, they didn’t go today and have been working my last nerve all morning. Junior or no Junior, I need to break out of this joint tonight or I’ma go crazy, word.”
Set in the summer of 1983 in New York City, SHOW AND PROVE is my second young adult novel (and sixth one overall.) It’s the coming of age story of two young men whose friendship is at a crossroads just as each has other things to face. When Raymond “Smiles” King loses a promotion to Cookie Camacho because of the summer camp director’s ethnic favoritism, not only does a summer-long rivalry begin, he finds himself increasingly drawn to Qusay, a charismatic militant who has just returned home from prison. Meanwhile, even though he’s dodging gangleader Junior for dumping his younger sister, aspiring b-boy Guillermo “Nike” Vega still has his wandering eye on Sara and is intent on getting into the Rock Steady Crew.
It may be the summer of Reaganomics, the twin epidemics of crack and AIDS, war in the Middle East and urban blight. But it’s also the summer when hip hop proved its staying power without losing its innocence, something that Smiles and Nike struggle to do. This isn’t going to be a book for teens. It’ll also be a fun, nostalgic trip for any reader born in the mid-60s to early 70s or die-hard hip-hop aficionado.
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