by Ifè Oshun
This is a young adult Fantasy
Papa Grace Publishing
Published December 28, 2013
Length 232 pages
So what is a young woman with dreams of stardom to do? All of 16 years old and thisclose to making her dream of making singing her career and now this. The Change. The transition from mortal to immortal. Blood to Blood is pure fantasy of course yet one of the more entertaining works in the genre. It tells the tale from the perspective of an African American teen.
That in and of itself was refreshing and it was a joy to read a creation that is so outside of the box that black female characters often find themselves locked in.
This is an entertaining and well written read with the kinds of turns, plot changes and occurs forbidden romance that will keep the reader engaged. You like these characters and dispute their supernatural powers they are as real as any group of people you’ll meet. For me the emphasis on family, tradition and Angelica’s obligation and duty to same while at the same time exploring her own quest for independence and autonomy was a key element of this book. This is a passage we all must go through of course in Angelica’s case there is that matter of becoming immortal. This is a coming of age story with a twist. I think you’ll enjoy it.
1. MOM’S GONNA KILL ME
The Change was starting. A tingle coursed through my veins like the first flutterings of a new butterfly’s wings, and I distinctly heard the heartbeats of everyone in the room. Part of me was excited. After all, I’d soon be full-grown Shimshana. But then another part was scared… How exactly would The Change affect me? More importantly, would I still be able to sing afterwards? The tingling faded into the background, though, as I watched the number of comments explode. Mom’s gonna kill me, I thought. We (Kat Trio) were about to sign our very first album deal, and somehow word had already gotten out on Facebook. Pivoting the laptop on the table’s smooth surface, I showed my profile page to the others in the sun-filled conference room. My group mates, Julietta and LaLa; our manager, Nina; and the label’s A& R Director— um, was his name Raj?— were too preoccupied to look up.“Seven hundred and eighty-four friend requests,” I said. My mouth was suddenly parched, despite the lemon wedge I’d been sucking.
LaLa mumbled something undecipherable while painstakingly inscribing lyrics on her striped sleeve. Julietta popped bubblegum and barely looked up from texting one of her boyfriends. “A step up from the nine friends you have now,” she quipped. Raj smiled and passed Nina copies of the contract. “Might as well get used to it, ladies,” he responded in his smooth London/ East Indian accent. At that moment, he reminded me of an antsy Las Vegas dealer. You know, the type you see in the movies; twitching right before someone at the blackjack table is dragged into the backroom to get beat down for cheating the house. Or maybe the twitch I thought I saw in his grin was just a projection of my own guilt. After all, I was the one cheating the house. I was breaking my family’s number one, all-time rule: stay low-profile. And I was the one who was lying. I gulped down what felt like a cotton ball forming in my throat. Nina finally looked up from signing the contracts. “Your turn,” she said to us. “Just print your names.” Pens began signing, and papers glided like flattened sharks back and forth across the table amidst a sea of water bottles, cough drops, and hot cups of tea until all the lines were signed. The contracts’ final destination was the notary public at the end of the table who verified the info and stamped them with her seal. Nina and Raj shook hands before she turned and spread her manicured fingers toward us. “Congrats, girls,” she said. “You’ve just signed a deal with House Quake.” I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or scream, and obviously, neither did Jules and LaLa. Despite just getting what we had worked for and dreamed of for the past three years, we sat mutely for a
moment, staring at one another in the wake of Nina’s words. None of us girls had typical sixteen year-old lives. Instead of fashion, boys, and reality TV we had writing, rehearsing, and performing wherever we could. Talent shows, festivals, and church were the only dates we had, and over the past year, any gig that I could sneak behind my parents’ backs was another notch in our collective belt. We were on a mission. We wanted to do this as a career. And everybody knew that in order to make it, you had to grab all the opportunities you could while you were still young. In my case, my life was even less typical and there was no point in waiting. Singing was my heart, my soul, and my waking dream. It was the only thing I could ever imagine doing. Forever. Kat Trio was a hobby until we met Nina, who told us she could take us far if we were serious. Soon, we entered and won NE Rising Stars, an annual showcase of the best talent from across the Northeast. The prize package (photo shoot, demo CD, and potential signing with a mid-sized record company) was so publicized, my parents refused to allow me to interview with the label. They even made me promise to stop performing. I lied and told them I would. I apologized to the girls, telling them that I couldn’t meet with the label because Mom and Dad wanted me to focus on my double English classes at school. Not a total lie, since my parents are really big on education. Between the two of them, they have hundreds of degrees in almost as many languages and or dialects, gathering dust in a secret room in the basement. But to be completely honest, my parents were definitively against any member of the family being in the public spotlight. Even if it was the only yet-to-turn-immortal member. Me.
Our peaceful existence depended on the ability to blend into the mortal world. Attracting national attention to myself would defeat the “blending mandate,” so this record deal and sudden fame stuff was a serious no-no. Even worse, Mom and Dad didn’t know that I’d broken my promise and was still doing gigs. Every night the girls and I spent gigging was a night when my parents thought I was studying at either LaLa or Jules’ house. Now the record deal would expose me as a scheming traitor, and I was sure not even The Change and the immortality it would bring could save me from Mom’s wrath. And if (a very big if) Mom didn’t kill me once the truth came out, she would surely incinerate me into a small gray mound of breathable dust after I gathered up the guts to tell her and Dad that I was considering dropping out of high school to make an album. So instead of laughing, crying or even screaming, I just sat there, pen still in my hand— slack-jawed with the realization the contract I’d just signed was really my own death warrant.”