Last Summer on State Street
by Wolfe, Toya

In the summer of 1999, Felicia "Fe Fe" Stevens, when she welcomes the mysterious Tonya into her group of friends, finds her life upended as the neighborhood falls down around them, forever changing the community, their families and their ability to trust each other. 50,000 first printing.

*Starred Review* Children, cued to joy like flowers to the sun, learn to navigate the perils of South Side Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes, an enormous high-rise public housing project, forging friendships and having fun in spite of poverty, drugs, police brutality, and gang warfare. Twelve-year-old Fe Fe (Felicia), raised by a diligent and loving mother along with Meechie, her older brother, is smart and bighearted, extending her close friendship with equally well-loved Precious to the less-fortunate Stacia and Tonya. But their already precarious lives turn even more treacherous in 1999 as the city starts tearing down the towers. First-time novelist Wolfe writes with lacerating precision and authenticity, building her reverberating tale on bedrock Black Chicago history and her own experiences growing up in this besieged community. While Fe Fe dreams of being a teacher in the sanctuary of her book-filled bedroom and Precious is enfolded within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Meechie, Stacia, and Tonya are subjected to violation, violence, and ruthless gang pressure. In a fictional counterpart to Dawn Turner's memoir, Three Girls from Bronzeville (2021), Wolfe's deeply compelling characters, sharply wrought settings, and tightly choreographed plot create a concentrated, significant, and unforgettable tale of family, home, racism, trauma, compassion, and transcendence. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

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