Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. Press.
2006 American Library Association ALEX Award
Seventeen-year-old Antonio is accused of stabbing his father to death and is sent upstate to serve a ten-year sentence. While locked up, he exchanges letters with his girlfriend, Natasha.
What would you do if you were locked up at seventeen? If you were locked up for a crime you committed trying to protect your family? If you had to leave your friends and family behind for ten years? If you could never see your boyfriend or girlfriend again? If you couldn’t go to prom? If you couldn’t graduate from high school?
This is the situation Antonio is facing at seventeen years old. He is arrested for stabbing his father in an attempt to stop him from beating his mother. His lawyer insists he has a good chance of being acquitted at first, but as the trail drags on things get complicated and Antonio agrees to serve a ten-year sentence as part of a plea deal. Unable to see his family and friends, except on visitation days, he misses out on the end of high school, going to college, getting a job and watching his brothers grow up. The one thing Antonio doesn’t want to miss out on, though, is a chance to keep his relationship with his girlfriend, Natasha, alive. Struggling to reach her Antonio begins writing Natasha letters, and is forced to ask her “ baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father?”
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