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on February 1, 2012
"DJ Rising" is an awesome book that draws you in with the first page when it describes how a DJ can move an audience to the dance floor, raise their spirits, and even bring calm after a bar fight. It's about a DJ in high school named Marley who dreams of developing his art and playing the coolest clubs. Music is in Marley's blood. In fact, he was born at a Bob Marley tribute concert. But there are some major challenges in his life. He practically parents his herion addicted mother and he deals with a lot of conflict at school between the different groups of kids. He also works long hours as a waiter to pay the rent and buy food. He's able to escape the stress and pain of his life through his music. Marley finds a great teacher who can help him take his music to the next level but ultimately he must look deep within himself to discover who he is as an artist and as a man. I highly recommend this fast-paced book that will have you hearing in your head the music that Marley mixes.
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on July 14, 2014
While I felt DJ Rising might be a bit unrealistic, it was an interesting, heartwarming story.

Marley has a hard life. His mother is a heroin addict, so Marley must earn enough to support both himself and his mother. Totally on his own. He' attending a prestigious high school on scholarship, and all the rich kids at the school know he's not one of them. But he has a strong desire to go to college, and he works hard and gets straight As.

But, the most important thing to Marley is music. His dad, who was killed in a car accident, got him started DJing, and Marley's band instructor has helped him hone his skills. It's all Marley dreams of -- being a DJ at a popular club.

Marley gets some opportunities to DJ, and meets some people who help him. He also makes some progress in the romance department. Things might be looking up at home too. For a while, Marley sees all his dreams coming true.

Marley really has it together. Almost too much together. He has some great friends, but really not much of a support system, and at the beginning of DJ Rising he's working and studying, and cleaning and cooking and it all seems a bit too easy.

There are a lot of descriptions of being a DJ. The songs he plays and how he mixes them together. Also, how he tries to create his own music. All the parts about his passion for music and DJing got really repetitive.

My favorite part of DJ Rising is the last 25%. The tension builds. Marley meets some real obstacles and he overcomes them successfully. Parts of this resolution are a bit lucky, but it still made me feel good.

Teens who love music would definitely be drawn to DJ Rising. It's a story about how working hard and sticking with your dreams can all pay off--a message that's important to today's teens.
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on March 12, 2012
First Impressions: I love music! I've never been musically talented myself, even though I have tried my hand at playing guitar, violin, and a number of other musical instruments. I have friends that are good at these kinds of things, so I leave all of that stuff up to them....but I wish I could do the things they do. That is why I wanted to read this book. I love the fact that the author isn't a huge reader and she created this book to help other reluctant readers read and learn about music at the same time. That is pretty smart, if you ask me!

First 50 Pages: I also really like the fact that this book is narrated from the view point of a teen boy named Marley. In my experience, boys need more of a push to read then girls do. I'm a married woman who struggles just to get my husband to read and he is very picky about what he will or will not read. I think making this book revolve around a teen boy will make other teen boys want to sit down and take time to read, especially since it involves music, clubs, and hard issues like drug abuse. I was very impressed with the pace and the flow of the author's writing and I immediately became wrapped up in Marley's story from the first chapter.

Characters & Plot: Marley is an awesome kid who has to deal with things that he shouldn't have to deal with. I love flawed characters and Marley isn't a prefect kid, and he doesn't always make the best choices, but he is so likable and you can't help rooting for him to follow his dreams. He is also bi-racial which is so hard to find in books and I'm glad that the author chose to make his character as such.

The whole plot really does center around Marley's ambition to become a professional DJ, along with overcoming all of the obstacles that are thrown at him, even when tragedy strikes too close to home. I enjoyed learning about the DJ aspect of things because it isn't really something I ever thought about before. Being a DJ is a lot of work! Much more than I ever thought it would be.

I really enjoy books that deal with the hard issues of life, and poor Marley really has to deal with so much. All he really wants is land his dream job and do well for himself, but he carries a ton of weight around on his shoulders at home and at school. His mother is a real piece of work, and Marley has to deal with her severe drug abuse, foul language, and other things no child should ever have to deal with. Luckily for Marley, he has friends who are there for him to help him pull through and to help keep him on the right track for success. I just adore Marley's character and his ability to adapt and change and hold his head up high through everything he has to go through.

Final Thoughts: This isn't the most original of stories, but with the mix of music and learning about what it takes to become a DJ, coupled with fantastic writing from the author, I ended up really enjoying this book. I think it is going to appeal to a wide range of teens and young adults, especially for teen boys. Props to the author for writing a very compelling story in such a unique voice that is Marley!
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on June 21, 2016
This book was really good; it was about a sixteen (almost seventeen) year old kid, moving up in the world. Marley the MC was a great character despite his awful circumstances. His mother was a drug addict and his father had died when he was young. His personality was great, he's quiet, reserved, and very mature. And just like any teen, he makes mistakes. It's very easy to forget his age when he works like a college student and has a dedication to music that could put most people to shame. A bit of romance, but it doesn't overtake the moral of the story. A very good book.
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on April 26, 2013
This story shows that even if you have a bad life, you dont have to be bad. The story had the perspective of a struggling teen who knows that his life with nothing but dreams turned to nothing but life. He lives his tragic life the way he wants it. I love the life he wants to see and then makes it a amazing reality. I bet any teenager who reads this book they will also totally love it too. The feeling is sweet and sending a message to teens that when all fails make your dreams a reality.
-Jasmyn B.
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on November 22, 2013
Good, compelling reading. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because some of the situations in the book seemed pretty unlikely to ever happen in real life, eg., how likely is it for a teenager to suddenly (illegally) be almost thrown into a dream job disk jokeying in a dance club, and paid in cash, so they didn't even have to see that he was underage? Nevertheless, a real page-turner that kept me reading 'till the end. Worth the money.
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on January 15, 2013
"DJ Rising" is a realistic walk in the first person shoes of Marley, an inner city 16-year-old with a heroin addicted mother and ambitious dreams of his own. Marley is torn between fighting for his own dreams and caring for what is left of his family.

The author has done an excellent job of bringing Marley to life. He is authentic, three dimensional, complex, rich and convoluted. Marley's situation, while dire, is universal in the sense that one's dreams are often in direct conflict with one's obligations. Every reader can relate to Marley, regardless of his or her background.

"DJ Rising" packs an emotional punch that engages the reader, regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic background, and not only entertains, but demands deeper thinking about common stereotypes. Marley is living well below the poverty line, is mixed-race, and could very easily become a common statistic. In bringing Marley's story to life in such a compelling and realistic manner, the author has challenged us to look beyond the clothes, beyond the stereotypes and beyond our own assumptions to discover how Marley embodies the desires of all young people: to love and be loved, to have a family, and to leave one's mark for the betterment of mankind.

"DJ Rising" truly has universal appeal. It is beautifully written and is both sentimental and genuine. This debut novel by Love Maia is not afraid to tell the truth, and this reviewer is looking forward to her sophomore endeavor.
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on June 9, 2012
If there's a character to admire, it's Marley. He sets high goals and works hard to maintain his scholarship in an expensive prep school. In addition, he works as a DJ while caring for his heroin-addicted mother. True, Marley wants a normal childhood, but he still makes something of his situation. Marley is far from perfect, but he is a protagonist that you want to support, someone you want to see rise and live the American dream.

The plot focuses on the characters and Marley's path as a DJ, and I loved learning more about the art of being a DJ. Marley's love for music is beautiful. While I don't know much about music in general, being the book nerd that I am, I found myself invested in the story and empathizing with Marley. Marley's friends are equally amazing and just as real. They give you a sense for the world Marley lives in. He has Chuckie and Scuz, Latreece, and Hawk, among others. There is also a hint of romance, as Marley has his eyes on a girl who doesn't seem to know he exists.

Love Maia tackles her novel with grit and realness. There are drugs, substance abuse, and strong language. DJ Rising is about hope, forgiveness, and acceptance.
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on February 19, 2012
With the increase in band related YA books, it's hard to sort through the pile of junk out there to find the gems.

I can say that after having read DJ Rising, this here is a gem.

DJ Rising is more than just a book about music and a kid discovering himself through the processes with everything working out hunky dory in the end. This is a touching book about the hardships that those children unfortunate enough to be born into horrible situations that they have to deal with every single day, and the single ray of hope that helps some of them survive.

Of course this book isn't great just because of the situation and writing, the characters are also fantastic. The author, Maia, does a extraordinary job establishing a relatable protagonist in Marley. Marley is everything a reader could want in a protagonist; he's strong, caring, talented, and fallible. And it's all of these characteristics as well as Maia's fantastic writing, that makes Marley one of the best features of the book.

All in all DJ Rising is a truly fantastic book. The narrative is captivating, the description of music/DJing is mesmerizing and unique, and the characters well developed and interesting. But most importantly DJ Rising is book that will touch you to your core, and will captivate you in the process, making it a must read.

[...]
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on March 23, 2012
This is a type of story that I love. One with hard times and redemption. I mean, who doesn't go through hard times and want a happy ending?

I love the way this plot line flowed. The reader meets a young man who has big dreams. I love that the plot line isn't filled with partying at clubs and doing stupid things. The plot line is full of real life experiences that a lot of teens face today. Nothing is painted pretty.

The characters of the book both amaze and shocked me. Marley is a bright young man who is living a tough life. Marley amazed me through and through all the time. Faced with some of toughest times in his life, Marley keeps his head high and always look towards his dreams. I really loved how well the author made it possible to relate to every aspect of Marley's life.

There is a slight love interest in this book but nothing detailed. I still loved the redemption of Marley and his success. It's good to see him make it after all he went through.

DJ Rising is an amazing story of a teen making it till the very end. Marley will amaze you with the strength that he has. You see the potential for Marley so you root for him to make it. DJ Rising is an surreal and gritty book.
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