Barkings From A Beagle is a weekly feature to recommend/spotlight a book, new or old. Since I already spotlight Toby in my IMM posts, I figured I could incorporate him into this as well. Basically, Toby and I just tell you guys about a book and why I loved it, as well as provide links to buy it from the main booksellers.
This week's pick was published in 2006 but I read it last summer. I really enjoyed it- a very quick read but pretty unique and hard to read at times.
Toby Barks: Read Street Pharm by Allison Van Diepen.
Summary: If a brother wanna get ahead, he gotta use every minute to better himself. Everything I did made me better -- tougher, stronger, richer, smarter -- or I didn't do it.Take high school. A waste of time. Nobody there taught me what I needed to survive on the streets....Ty Johnson knows survival. Since inheriting his pop's business at sixteen, Ty's developed smarts, skills, and mad discipline. The supply game's in his blood. And life is pretty sweet when you're on top.But one slip -- or one serious competitor -- and life turns ugly fast. Suddenly, Ty's got to rethink his whole strategy. And for the #1 dealer on the streets, strategy is not just about staying ahead. It's about survival.
I think the fact that Ty was more or less keeping up with the family business, both wanting to and needing to be a dealer, was what captivated me the most with this book. The writing is all in his mindset, right down to the slang. This isn't a book written to be scholarly- it's written because there are, sadly, teens out there who's life is like this. Van Diepen was inspired by her own experiences teaching in inner-city Brooklyn and that fact did show through with this one. The first book I read by this author was Raven- something of an entirely different area and the fact that she could write both a fantasy and something that can mirror real life and have both of them turn out amazingly speaks thousands for her.