Reading Guides: Urban Fiction

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Urban Fiction

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Suggested Titles

Asim, Jabari / Only the Strong: An American Novel --- PS 3601.S59 O55 2015
The lives of a reformed hit man, a crusading doctor, a genteel mobster, and a headstrong college student cross in a sweltering Midwestern city in 1970.

Ashley & JaQuavis / The Cartel 2 --- PS 3601.S543 C37 2009
The Cartel runs Miami and loyalty to their organization runs deep but when someone breaks the rules, things may be beyond repair. Now, Young Carter is in the fight of his life, as he faces drug kingpin charges due to the treachery of his best friend, Ace.

Booth, Coe / Bronxwood --- PZ 7 .B64632 Br 2011 (2nd Floor, Youth Collection)
Tyrell's life is spinning out of control after his father is released from prison, his little brother is placed in foster care, and the drug dealers he's living with are pressuring him to start dealing.

Burgess, Matt / Dogfight, A Love Story --- PS 3602 .U746 D64 2010
Dreading the prison release of his violent older brother, who blames him for his imprisonment and for stealing his pregnant girlfriend, young drug dealer Alfredo struggles with cultural clashes in Queens while planning to steal a pit bull for a homecoming dogfight.

DuPree, Kia / Silenced --- PS 3604.U68 S55 2011
Falling on hard times, Nicola has to move her family into one of the most notorious projects in Washington, D.C. She knows she must work extra hard to keep her family from succumbing to the streets. When her eldest son Marquan faces murder charges, Nicola focuses her energy on his case, hoping that she can keep the family intact.

Ervin, Keisha / Gunz and Roses --- PS 3605 .R857 G86 2009
Urban fiction diva Ervin is back with her latest story of street love, in this passionate drama filled with an intense mix of suspense, lies, and murder.

Frank, E.R. / Dime --- PZ 7.F84913 Di 2015 (2nd Floor, Youth Collection)
Fourteen-year-old Dime, a foster child in Newark, New Jersey, finds love and family as a prostitute, but when her pimp rejects her for a new girl, will Dime have the strength to leave?

Gattis, Ryan / All Involved: A Novel --- PS 3607.A885 A77 2015
At 3:15 p.m. on April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted two LAPD officers charged with using excessive force to subdue civilian Rodney King, and failed to reach a verdict on the same charges involving a third officer. Less than two hours later, the city of LA, a powder keg of racial tension, exploded in violence of rioting that lasted six days. All Involved vividly recreates this turbulent and terrifying time through the stories of six interconnected lives caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

Goines, Donald / Black Girl Lost --- PS 3557 .O3255 B546 1973
The raw tale of Sandra, a young girl alone on the streets of Los Angeles. Sandra took to the streets when she was just eight years old, fighting off the pangs of hunger by shoplifting; by her teens she was dealing drugs to keep body and soul together and then she met Chink and discovered love and affection—and abuse and murder!

Goines, Donald / Whoreson: The Story of a Ghetto Pimp --- PS 3557.O33 W4 2012
Whoreson Jones is the son of a beautiful black prostitute and an unknown white john.  As he battles to understand his world, he must learn to live up to his mother's words, 'First be a man, then be a pimp'.

Hough, Robert / Diego's Crossing --- PS8565.O7683 D53 2015
Seventeen-year-old Diego wants nothing to do with his drug-dealing brother Ernesto. Their small Mexican town of Corazon de la Fuente has been devastated by the drug trade. When Ernesto cannot make a drug run for a brutal gang, Diego must make the most difficult decision of his life. He soon finds himself caught in a web from which it is impossible to escape without endangering his life and that of his entire family.

Iceberg Slim / Pimp --- PS 3552.E25 Z52 2011
This is the story of Iceberg Slim’s life, as he saw, felt, tasted, and smelled it. A trip through hell by the one man who lived to tell the tale. The dangers of jail, addiction and death that are still all too familiar.

K, Kim / Rise of an American Gangstress --- PS 3611.A214 R57 2012
Fancy is a young, spoiled princess. When the Feds seize her family's ill-gotten gains, unwilling to stay down, Fancy realizes that she was born to hustle, and this American Gangstress is reborn. What emerges is a fierce contender the streets aren't ready for.

Neri, Greg / Knockout Games --- PZ 7.N4377478 Kn 2014 (2nd Floor, Youth Collection)
As a gang of urban teenagers known as the TKO Club makes random attacks on bystanders, Erica, who is dating the gang leader, wrestles with her dark side and "good kid" identity.

Murray, Victoria Christopher / Stand Your Ground --- PS 3563.U795 S73 2015
After a seventeen-year-old African American boy is shot dead by a white man, the boy's mother and the shooter's wife face difficulties.

Mosley, Walter / Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore --- PS 3563.O88456 D43 2014
Debbie Dare has to come to terms with her sordid life in the adult-entertainment industry. When she discovers her "film producer" husband dead in a hot tub electrocution with a starlet he was "auditioning," Debbie decides she's done with porn. Dealing with estrangement from her family and the child she had to give up, her options for what might come next include the possibility of suicide....

Reynolds, Jason / All American Boys --- PZ 7.R33593 Al 2015 (2nd Floor, Youth Collection)
When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints.

Shabazz, Ilyasah / X: A Novel --- PZ 7.1.S47 Xan 2015 (2nd Floor, Youth Collection)
Malcolm Little's parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's a pack of lies—after all, his father's been murdered, his mother's been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

Solomon, Asali / Disgruntled: A Novel --- PS 3619.O4335 D57 2015
Novel about a young black girl coming of age in Philadelphia in the late '80s and early '90s

Souljah, Sister / A Moment of Silence --- PS 3569.O7374 M66 2015
Midnight is surrounded by Americans who don't share or understand his faith or culture, and adults who are offended by his maturity, intelligence, or his natural ability to make his hard work turn into real money. He is calm, confident, and cool, Ninja-trained and powerful, but one moment of rage throws this Brooklyn youth into a dark world of dirty police, gangs, guns, drugs, prisons, and prisoners. Third book in the Midnight series.

Schraff, Anne / Wildflower --- PZ 7 .S3768 W55 2011 (2nd Floor, Youth Collection)
Chelsea Spain bridled under her father's harsh rules. But she was growing up too fast. Someone had to rein her in until she had enough sense to handle herself better. Whenever there was the temptation to take a risk, she went for it. Egged on by her immature friends, was it too late to learn that some risks are just not worth taking?

T. I. / Power & Beauty: A Love Story of Life on the Streets --- PS 3600.T3 P69 2011
After the death of his mother, Paul "Power" Clay allows himself to be guided by Slim, a local businessman. Power is sure that if he learns Slim’s ways, he’ll make something of himself—and perhaps be worthy of Tanya "Beauty" Long. From Chicago to Miami to New York, through drugs, women, and violence, Power makes the difficult transition from boy to man and, in doing so, begins to question if those who have taught him truly have his best interests at heart.

Tyree, Omar / Pecking Order --- PS 3570.Y59 P43 2008
Entering the high-stakes business of celebrity party promotions in southern California, an ambitious young accountant finds the highly charged industry significantly shaped by big money influences, race factors, and sex.

Wilde, Lisa / YO MISS: A Graphic Look at High School --- PN 6727.B378 W5 Y6 2015
YO MISS takes the reader inside John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy, a second-chance high school in New York City, where Lisa Wilde has worked since 1997. A school where all the students are considered at risk, Wildcat offers these teens a ticket to the middle class - a high school diploma. With humor and humanity, Yo, Miss challenges preconceptions of who these kids are and what is needed to help them graduate.

Last Updated: April 2016

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