2009 John Newbery Award Honoree Review: "Those who think, as I do, that Jacqueline Woodson's books sometimes muss the fine line between poignant and sentimental — last year's 'Feathers' being an example — have a surprise in store for them with this slender, note-perfect novel. Two 11-year-old girls lead a happy but sheltered life in 1990s Queens, New York, reined in hard by their no-nonsense mamas yet dreaming all the while of the wider,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)
D Foster showed up a few months before Tupac got shot that first time and left us the summer before he died. The day D Foster enters Neeka and her best friend's lives, the world opens up for them. D comes from a world vastly different from their safe Queens neighborhood, and through her, the girls see another side of life that includes loss, foster families and an amount of freedom that makes the girls envious. Although all of them are crazy about Tupac Shakur's rap music, D is the one who truly understands the place where he's coming from, and through knowing D, Tupac's lyrics become more personal for all of them. The girls are thirteen when D's mom swoops in to reclaim Dand as magically as she appeared, she now disappears from their lives. Tupac is gone, too, after another shooting; this time fatal. As the narrator looks back, she sees lives suspended in time, and realizes that even all-too-brief connections can touch deeply.