DJ Rising
by Maia, Love

Sixteen-year-old Marley Diego-Dylan's career as "DJ Ice" is skyrocketing, but his mother's heroin addiction keeps dragging him back to earth.

Love Maia has worked construction, flown planes, and starred in an infomercial. As a writer, she relates deeply to her main character, Marley, sharing his passion for music and his belief in dreaming big. She loves the freeing energy of the club world, as well as pizza, kickboxing, butterflies, death metal, and underground hip-hop. When not hard at work on her next novel, Love can be found playing drums in an alternative rock band at various bars and clubs around San Francisco.

*Starred Review* Born in a first-aid tent at a Bob Marley concert, 16-year-old half-black/half-Puerto Rican Marley Johnnywas Diego-Dylan entered the world surrounded by music. In this fresh debut, music continues to course through Marley's veins as he dreams of becoming a professional DJ and spinning records at Fever, the hottest nightclub. If not for this dream, he might not survive his daily reality: a dead father, busing tables six nights a week at a fancy restaurant to support his heroin-addict mother, being shunned for being a "transplant" (scholarship student) at an elitist prep school, and suffering an unrequited crush on popular Lea. When Marley scores an audition at a top Fever competitor, assumes the name DJ Ice, and realizes a date with Lea may be imminent, his future looks brighter than ever. But interrupted by tragedy, Marley finds himself torn between obligation and fame. This gritty, pulsating peek into a lesser-known world reverberates with the energy of a thumping dance club. Clashes with Marley's mentor, a spinning purist who uses only vinyl, bring out the subtleties of the art form and the ongoing debate between vinyl and DJ software. Blending both forms to crowd-pleasing results, Marley fights for what he wants, and it is a fight well worth reading. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

From Coltrane to disco to old-school hip-hop, an energetic tale of a teen disc jockey's struggle to reach the top. Sixteen-year-old Marley Diego-Dylan is one of the only kids in his elite high school on financial aid. His father died a few years back, and his mom spends her days strung out on heroin in front of the television. Marley fights to keep everything together, but he dreams of becoming a star DJ. His career surges when he lands a substitute gig at a local club. Soon he's spinning vinyl at the hottest clubs. When his mother's situation take a turn for the worst, however, he's reality-checked back into his old life and must choose between his dreams and his old responsibilities. Maia's first teen novel balances true-to-life urban teenspeak, well-drawn characters and a plot that often seems too good to be true. The descriptions of Marley's-aka DJ Ice-DJ sessions are near euphoric, and music fans will love learning about the artists he blends for the dance floor. The novel itself feels just as glossy as the DJ sequences and lacks much of the realistic grit that other works embrace, such as Coe Booth's Tyrell (2006). Still, readers will relish reading about Marley's rise to fame despite his harrowing situation. A new voice worth watching. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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