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Dare Paperback – December 11, 2007
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"Abiola Abrams is best known as the host of BET's The Best Shorts. Her first novel, Dare, is a Faustian tale set in the world of hip hop. Abrams has a keen ear for dialog, and though almost outrageous at times, her characters are believable and often fascinating. Dare may end up in several nooks of your bookstore, filed under "chick lit," "African American literature," or even in the burgeoning "street lit" genre. Don't be fooled by the labels, this is a promising and enjoyable debut." -- David Gutowski, Large Hearted Boy
"Abiola Abrams' debut is like a breath of fresh air for young fiction and the depiction of women in hip hop. Finally, the world will see the conflicted struggles of ladies in the rap biz in a way that women in hip hop have known and understood for years." -- Raqiyah Mays, Writer/Radio Personality on Hot 97 & 98.7 Kiss FM
"Abrams uses the mystery, bling and oft times violence of the hip-hop world, the rapper's delight, if you will, as a backdrop for a strangely twisted coming of age story. Sometimes lovers, both old and new, don't know what to make of a caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly. Neither do friends, for that matter. But what happens when a woman looks around, finds herself hiding in a corner, and coaxes herself out to play? Now that's the stuff good books are made of. Taking a DARE doesn't get any more enlightening than this." -- The Rawsistaz Reviewers
"DARE is the first novel by Abiola Abrams, who is also a filmmaker and a pretty dynamic sister. The book is a hip-hop retelling of Faust, but as Abrams acutely describes, it's about "finding love and finding yourself." I thought this book was dope for several reasons. Including: 1) It represents what great hip-hop fiction can be: smart, edgy, hip-hop inspired, but not just hip-hop, empowering, and provocative. 2) It's a great story about living life, not just existing, and makes you think about your own journey thus far. 3) It's fun and entertaining." -- AOL Black Voices
"Filmmaker Abiola Abrams blends literary and hip hop sensibilities for a daring debut." -- Upscale Magazine
From the Author
Thank you so much to all of the wonderful readers, book clubs, magazines, book stores, radio shows and students who have embraced my debut novel Dare. I wanted to present this audience with something unique, poetic, well-written, and different than the fiction that we are used to. Someone asked me if readers were ready for a fun, smart and satirical adventure about friendship, drama and love that happens to be set in the world of hip hop; a story, as one Amazon reader put it, that is not about "gangstas, pimps, hustlers or hos," and the answer is a resounding yes! Thank you readers, for showing with your many enthusiastic letters that crashed my site that Dare is the book you were waiting for, and that their are many different kinds of books to serve our audience, and all are valid and necessary.
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But love is thicker than disagreements and the bonds of sisterhood are strong between these two sister-friends. When Athena's Mom becomes ill and Athena cannot make the rapper audition of a lifetime, Maya comes and does Athena's audition.
When Maya's audacity causes her to win, Athena convinces her to take a sabbatical from her job and continue the ruse until they can get things straightened out and get Athena her chance to shine.
Maya thinks she's crazy, til Athena DARES her. Now, these two women aren't children, but Maya can't refuse that dare.
"Dare" is a beautifully written book by a woman whose soul is full of light and who obviously wants to brighten up her reader's lives, too. You not only get a heart-rending tale of a strong woman's life, you get life lesson's as well. Abiola Abrams has filled "Dare" with personal dares that will change your life if you open yourself up to them--one of these is a "Beauty Day". No, this isn't pampering at the spa, it's noticing and acknowledging beauty everywhere.
Ms. Abrams writes with the rhymic beauty of both a musician and a poet. Her imagery is strong with color and sensory impressions. Scenes from "Dare" will bring tears to your eyes and leave you laughing and cheering.
You don't have to love rap or hip hop to love this book. You do need poetry in your soul and be willing to open up and learn--because Maya does have some amazing insights into life in general.
Go on--read the first chapter on this page. I dare you. Bet you won't put the book down til you're done. I also bet you're going to keep the book for the rules and the inspirational material in between the narrative.
Rebecca Kyle, April 2008
Maya and Athena were friends and roommates, but were total opposites. Maya was a sociology nut who enjoyed activism, writing poetry, conducting trivial experiments dealing with human condition and tendencies, and battling demons that kept her from being at peace in life. Athena, an ex-cheerleader, was all about how she could make her next dollar or meet her next bedmate. Since none of her get-rich-quick schemes panned out, she returned to her love of rap. However, Maya had beef with hip-hop.
Athena was set to audition for Shell the Boy Wonder, but circumstances made her ask Maya to stand in for her. Though Maya was apprehensive, she knew all of Athena's rhymes and decided she had to be there in her friend's time of need. She nailed the audition and Maya, as we knew her, ceased to exist. Reborn as Jezebel, she coerced herself to embrace this new endeavor under the guise of another sociological experiment until the truth could be revealed. This truth would put the real rapper on the pedestal she deserved, but when the ugliness of fortune and fame arose, would Maya be able to make a successful transition? Or would the lifestyle hand her the successful existence, tranquility, and love she sought while she was a simple civilian?
Abrams' has written a great, thought-provoking debut novel. Her writing is fresh and witty and her characters are lively and engaging. Dare's plot is strong and without question, realistic. I enjoyed following the characters' angst in taking on roles that unsettled their souls and witnessing the strength it took to practice tough love. The first six chapters were difficult to get into. I had to get used to the writer's style, but once I was able to, I found it hard to put the book down. I was also disappointed that it ended abruptly. Maybe there is a sequel in the works. The back cover labels Dare as urban fiction, but it seemed to be more chick-litish. Urban fiction fans may feel cheated since it does not follow the traditional formula of the genre. Chick-lit and contemporary fiction fans will surely enjoy this read. I look forward to reading Abrams' future works.
Reviewed by Darnetta Frazier