Friday, February 25, 2011

Glitz - Philana Marie Boles

Glitz by Philana Marie Boles
17 yr old Ann Michelle lives in Ohio with her grandmother. Her life is quiet, predictable and safe. They live in a nice house, Ann Michelle goes to private school and her three friends always follow the rules.

After Ann Michelle befriends new girl, Raquel Marissa Diaz (Raq) she becomes someone else for awhile . Raq has grown up in foster care and has been in and out of juvie. She has a great voice and dreams of becoming a star.

Ann Michelle and Raq bond over their love of rap music. Especially, their love of Piper (in his early 20's) an underground up and coming MC.

From the beginning I knew I was going to like Ann Michelle's voice.

Earlier that day, because my regular lab partner for anatomy, was out with bronchitis, the new girl was assigned to the empty seat beside me. Raquel Diaz - Sister Whitney announced her name - caused an immediate hush as we all looked up at her. She was very pretty, but it was obvious from the way she rolled her eyes that she was also very tough. By the end of that day, every one of us do good girls rocking Catholic school uniforms was aware of the tattooed rebel (a microphone on her left wrist) new on the scene.

Ann Michelle is an excellent student and loves her grandmother but longs for a little more freedom. When Raq invites her to a concert on Halloween, she can't resist.

Raq gets them into an 18up concert featuring Piper MC. She also gets the two invited to his studio session in Detroit and a showcase at the Apollo, in NYC. Ann Michelle's new persona Glitz gives her the freedom to enjoy the adventure. Though Glitz knows it will all end eventually, and soon it becomes a little too dangerous for it not to.

The music descriptions could not have been better. I could see Piper MC's performance.

Oh, the sound was so electric! Such a contrast from the hard bass thuds of Millionaire Mal. Piper's beats were always unique, but this song, with an electric guitar as the main instrument, was the most unusual. It sounded more like heavy rock, without even a hint of stereotypical hip hop bass. No one in hip hop would dare spit over such a sound. Only Piper. The hungriest underdog in the junkyard. Mainstream success had nothing on underground love. His hype men right behind him, Piper stood waiting like the pro that he was. Calm, despite the crowd losing their minds. Patient. Too impossibly cool. He glanced back at one of his hype men, nodded and flashed that smile.

After Ann Michelle misses her curfew (first time) she decides to stay out and be Glitz for a little while longer. With Raq's encouragement one night quickly turns into a week. The two are riding with Piper MC and his hype man Sir Gee. I liked the time the author spent developing Piper and Sir Gee. It was nice to see the person not just the artist.

As you can already tell, I really enjoyed Glitz but I could've loved it more. When Raq comes along everyone warns Ann Michelle to stay away from her because it will lead to trouble. I liked that Ann Michelle doesn't listen, choosing instead to trust herself. For awhile I thought and hoped maybe everyone else was wrong. That Raq had changed and really was a great person.

It wasn't the fact that Raq turn out to be trouble that I didn't like, it was her lack of depth and the feeling that readers should be paying attention and learning from Ann Michelle's mistakes.
Glitz could've easily been one of my favorite reads of the year, if not for the feeling of a lesson to be learned.

Though I liked Glitz too much to end on that note. Boles writing was smooth and the dialogue natural. The author's love and knowledge of hip hop music shines through. Any novel that is set around music runs the risk of being dated by the artist named. Boles easily avoids this by only naming artists or groups that will always hold an important place in Hip Hop history, like Biggie, Tupac and Run DMC. Hip Hop fans will love Glitz. Actually this is a great choice for all music fans. ages 13 up

This great trailer will grab a few readers.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree with you, it's good to have a book that show music artists as people. Sounds like there are some similarities between this and When the Stars Go Blue?

Anonymous said...

You got me at "rap music"! I've added it to my tbr pile. Thanks! :)