Gearing up for the multicultural unit of my YA class, I chose the book After Tupac and D Foster, a book mentioned several times in our YA textbook. It was a Newbery Honor book. (FYI: Across book awards it goes like this--every year one book gets an award and a few others get honors.) It seemed interesting.
I was vaguely aware of Tupac Shakur. We first got cable when I was in 8th grade and in came MTV so I was much more aware of rap culture than just a year earlier. But it was never really my thing. However for these girls (D Foster, Neeka, and an unnamed narrator), he was them. He spoke to their situations. He was fine. (Go ahead; google him. He had lovely puppy dog eyes.) He was the kid from the streets who made good.
The book runs from the time D Foster shows up on their street and Tupac gets shot the first time to the time D leave and Tupac is killed in a gun fight. Generally this book doesn't have much in the way of plot. Neeka is always fascinated by how D's foster mom lets her "roam" about the city so one day D takes the girls off the block to her favorite play with an amphitheater. Neeka's oldest brother gets out of jail. The other older brother gets into Georgetown on a basketball scholarship. But nothing really happens to the girls.
So you have to like character-driven novels. And this one did it fairly well. The girls are likable, very different from each other. I liked the unnamed narrator the best because she was bookish. But it's hard to say a lot about the book. It's just kind of ephemeral.
So if you're looking for something a little different or if you happened to LOVE Tupac, I'd recommend this book. It won't change your life, but your afternoon will be well spent.