Publish Date: February 6, 2012
Little, Brown and Company
Reviewed by Rachael
The first thing I hear is music. The first thing I’ve always heard is music.Meet Marley, an unassuming high school junior who breathes in music like oxygen. In between caring for his heroin-addicted mother, and keeping his scholarship at a fancy prep school, he dreams of becoming a professional DJ.
When chance lands Marley his first real DJ job, his career as “DJ Ice” suddenly skyrockets. But when heart-rending disaster at home brings Marley crashing back down to earth, he is torn between obligation and following his dreams. –Goodreads
Okay, so this book caught me completely off-guard. I devoured it, reading it in just about 24 hours. I have never been in a club, never seen a live DJ…didn’t matter one bit. It may be my favorite book of the years thus far. Yup. There, I said it.
Marley is a character your instantly fall in love with, but in a “I really want to see this boy win!” type of way. He’s a boy, like many out there, who is forced to grow-up and become a man way too early in life. A boy forced to take on the responsibilities no sixteen-year-old should have to deal with, and he does it with style. He doesn’t do everything “right” by any means, but he’s definitely got some role-model qualities that even some adults could learn from. Seeing the way he deals with his lot in life is inspirational, moving, and if you don’t weep at least once while reading this book, well, you’re doing something wrong and missed chapters or something.
Now, DJ Rising book deals with some legit hard-core subjects, namely the fact that Marley’s mom is a heroin addict and the fact that most of the action takes places in clubs and parties and whatnot. Since I’m probably the most conservative of the Hooked to Books crew, I feel that’s something to be aware of when reading the book, but I’d say it’s what makes Marley seem like such an amazing character in the way he deals with life that I appreciate the honesty of the writing (which also involves language I’m not generally comfortable with, but the author actually used it well if that makes any sense, not in an extraneous way just trying to look “cool” for a high school YA audience, which I appreciate.) The book deals with love, loss, and forgiveness in ways I never imagined when reading the description or glancing at the title/cover. Perhaps being surprised by all the book had in store for me was part of why I loved it so much, but had it not arrived in my mailbox, I would have never given it a chance. Give it a chance.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I sort of want to read this all over again or drive it over to Megan’s house so she can read it immediately…that’s how much I loved it.
Ms Maia, I am blown away by your debut novel and cannot wait to read more of your work in the future!