Let Me Hear a Rhyme
by Tiffany D. Jackson
Expected publication: May 21st 2019
by Katherine Tegen
In this standalone novel, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he is still alive.
Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.
Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.
Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.
What happens when talent dies too soon? It is like seeing your invincible heroes defeated. Their biggest fans are left to pick up the pieces, decipher meaning for the unexplainable, and somehow to continue living. Tupac… Biggie… Steph! (Wait! What?) Steph was the greatest of all time, but the World didn’t know it. From legendary to graveyard. But is that how the story ends?
Let Me Hear a Rhyme is a story of how three Brooklyn teenagers devise a scheme to give life after death for a slain aspiring rap artist. This contemporary novel and mystery with pop culture elements and a heavy dose of 90s hip hop gave me warm vibes all over. The characters were each dynamic. The point of view switches between each teen giving you a full spectrum of the world. The plot build-up, climax, and resolution had me hooked until the last page. I haven’t binged read a story like that in years. I have heard so much about this author. I tend to shy away from heavy topics until confronted. In an attempt to face my fears, I will beta read this and I am glad I did. I am now officially a fan! My plan now is to backtrack and read the author’s previous works.
*Many thanks to the publishers, Katherine Tegen Books, for entrusting me with an honest review.