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Publisher's Summary

Upstate is an absolutely stunning, powerful coming of age novel filled with tragedy, struggle, love, and triumph; it is a modern The Color Purple.

Set in New York in the '80s and '90s, Upstate tells the story of two young lovers, Antonio and Natasha, torn apart by tragedy and struggling to survive against all odds. When a horrific tragedy sends Antonio to jail, their worlds turn upside down.

Antonio struggles to stay alive on the inside; Natasha battles society on the outside. Over the course of 10 years, they share an intimate correspondence as their lives change dramatically and they often have only each other to turn to. Will fate bring them back together, or will they remain forever apart? Ripe with unforgettable characters and two haunting voices, Upstate is an audio program not to be missed.

©2005 Kalisha Buckhanon (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

  • 2006 Alex Award Winner
  • 2005 Audie Award Winner, Literary Fiction

" "A moving, uplifting story of love and hope in the face of adversity." (Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book. Different Delivery, and Enjoyable

Great Book. Unusual style delivery, but enjoyable once it gets going. I realy enjoyed this book, and the letter method used for delivery. As the dates of each letter are given, it adds perspective to the setting/atmosphere.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

strange but good

I started this book and was upset I got it. The format is strange at first, but it grows on you. It is two teenagers writing letters to one another and it follows them through growing up under some tough circumstances. It grows on you, the story grabs you, and after this, you will like it. It is a good book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I didn't want it to end. I loved it

I didn't want it to end. I loved it couldn't put it down, I loved the narration and wish there was more. 10 STARS

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Get the tissues out

This is a great book. I was riveted. Listened to it in 2 days. The narrators are excellent. The story is told in letters to each other (male & female main characters mainly). It spans from 1990 - 1999 but doesn't drag at all, has very good momentum. I was very emotional listening to it, I had tears for the last 3 or 4 hours intermittent w/ some laughter. This could be for adults and high school or older. I highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Different

I enjoyed this book told from letters written back and forth over many years. The characters are full bodied and interesting. A different read and a story you have not read 100 times before.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Terri
  • Corona, CA, USA
  • 09-11-08

Branching out

I titled my review as "branching out" because this is not the type of book I would normally even consider reading or listening to.

I really enjoyed the experience. The emotions and facts that were communicated with this heart wrenching story were amazing.

It helps you appreciate what life is like for those raised in Harlem and provided with few breaks in life. The graphic details of prison life were as real to life as I have read in factual accounts previously (non-fiction).

Narrator did an excellent job....depicting the emotions of the characters was done superbly and made you feel like it was really happening right now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Debra
  • West Creek, NJ, USA
  • 02-16-05

Upstate

I enjoyed this book. At first, it seems simple but as the story and characters develop through the years, an amazingly tender and complex story unravels.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Love this book!!

This is a truth love story with all for love can bare! Great Story! !

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful Coming of Age Love Story

Where does Upstate rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best audio books I have heard .

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Antonio. We see his character develop so beautifully throughout the book and he doesn't give up no matter how difficult the circumstance.

What about Chadwick Boseman and Heather Simms ’s performance did you like?

Chadwick Boseman was absolutely incredible. His audio depiction of Antonio made me really invest my feelings in this book. I laughed, I cried, I even found myself rooting for him aloud. He made Antonio so easy to fall in love with and root for. Heather Simms did an incredible job of making me understand the struggles of Natasha and how her love for Antonio evolved throughout the years. As a young woman she was juggling so much at home, school and with Antonio. Her circumstances caused her to grow up faster than the average 16 year old and Heather makes Natasha's story so believable.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Growing together while growing apart

Any additional comments?

I just want to say that this audio book was phenomenal! I am usually not a fan of audio books as I find them boring and monotone. I would normally much rather read the print version. But NOT Upstate! This book was not only beautifully written but it was also wonderfully interpreted by Chadwick Boseman and Heather Simms. I was so emotionally invested in this book. I had tears in my eyes the majority of the story. This book is classic, and although it revolves around the story of Antonio and Natasha, there are so many underlying themes. This book tackles issues like, teen pregnancy, school to prison pipeline, family dysfunction, economic disparities and American prison conditions - not to mention the usual everyday growing pains of transitioning from teenhood to adulthood. This gripping tale vividly depicts two teenage lovers fighting to keep the purity of their love in tack amidst some troubling circumstances. Hats off to Kalisha Buckhanon. I would love to see this book translate to the big screen. We NEED a movie!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MJ
  • 03-26-18

Needs a movie adaption

I was first drawn in by the fact that Chadwick Boseman voiced the character Antonio. Boseman has a good eye when it comes to picking out roles to take so I thought i should give it a chance. And I'm glad I did. I finished this story in about 10 hours since I started to listen last night because I couldn't sleep. Anyway, this story of coming of age black love needs to be seen on the big screen. I know in today's climate of "black excellence" a story about a young black boy being sent off to jail is not exactly "marketable" but people need to realize that this story is more than that. It is about two individuals who are minorities who are both put into unfortunate circumstances and going through the motions of transitioning through becoming adults, although their journeys are very different from one another. This story brought tears to my eyes at the love the two major characters had for one another and I NEED to see this on the big screen one day! Thanks Kalisha for such a beautiful piece of literature. Much love.