DJ Rising by Love Maia
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads: The first thing I hear is music. The first thing I've always heard is music.
Meet Marley, an unassuming high school junior who breathes in music like oxygen. In between caring for his heroin-addicted mother, and keeping his scholarship at a fancy prep school, he dreams of becoming a professional DJ.
When chance lands Marley his first real DJ job, his career as "DJ Ice" suddenly skyrockets. But when heart-rending disaster at home brings Marley crashing back down to earth, he is torn between obligation and following his dreams.
My take: The book tells the story about Marley, a boy who has seen a lot of sorrow. Yet for all the times he's down, he finds his way back up and keeps swimming. He sets his goals high and works for his dreams. It all sounds quite After-School-Special but I assure you it is not. Although Marley is a hard working student on scholarship in an expensive prep school, finding jobs as a DJ, he is still dealing with a mother who shoots the rent through her veins then does nothing but sit in a heroin induced stupor. Marley gets tired. He wants a childhood but the responsibilities lay heavy on his shoulders.
The characters Marley meets along the way represent different aspects of hope, redemption, common sense, love, and belonging. The message is one of forgiveness and acceptance but the journey there involves a lot of grit. Marley sees a lot of drug and alcohol use/abuse, dialogue and swearing is strong and the tragedies Marley endures takes him to a new low. Marley is not perfect but he is definitely a good role model.
I also had no idea what an art being a DJ is! The author describes it in many different ways and paints beautiful pictures with her words. The end result is that I understood how out of blue, comes green. When all of life is layered together, balanced just right, even the tragedies can add depth to a human soul, depending on the person's willingness to accept and forgive.