Last Summer on State Street: A Novel
FeFe Stevens is twelve years old in 1999 and ready to take on the world in Toya Wolfe’s excellent first novel Last Summer on State Street. Told in brief chapters with a focus on descriptive, powerful language, readers who enjoyed Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street will fall in love with this book.
FeFe lives in Chicago in the Robert Taylor Homes, a housing project on the brink of being torn down. She and her friends Stacia and Precious are a tight-knit crew, each living in different buildings and moving as the projects are torn down or scheduled from demolition. As a new friend, Tonya, appears, the group has to negotiate their friendships’ boundaries and ties just as their neighborhood changes and they begin growing from the sheltered light of childhood into the bright glare of being young women.
As violence erupts and young men become objects of attraction rather than annoyances, the four girls choose sides and wind down their own paths, often having to make choices that draw dividing lines between them. There are successes and tragedies in this coming-of-age story which makes it all the more authentic to real life. It is hard to read it without thinking of the people we grew up with, wondering where they are, and who we would be without their influence on us when we were young.
Racism, the power of our own histories, and the regrets that shape our futures are all on gorgeous display in Toya Wolfe’s Last Summer on State Street.
|Page Count||212 pages|
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