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Book Review on Last Stop from Innocence by Takerra Allen

Reading a Takerra Allen novel is equivalent to taking a bite of mac and cheese with your yams. It’s reading for your soul and should definitely be required. In my opinion, Takerra Allen is one of the most undervalued authors in the urban lit world. I’ve never read a book by her that didn’t extract just about every emotion under the sun. Last Stop from Innocence wasn’t any different. In this story Allen takes you back to the '90s, a highly coveted time for just about every millennial. This book is a summer love story that will make you fall in love, but has just a splash of the TA effect to leave you reeling afterwards.

Amore "Ammo" Brown isn't your average high school graduate, she's a girl with a vision and a plan. She's going to Howard University. But even as a thriving young black queen with goals, she can't escape the aftershocks of her mother's death, a passing that slings her from Somerville straight in to Chilltown. Amore is now forced to stay with a father that she barely knows. "Amore Brown, you have grown into a splendid young lady who I am so proud to be able to call my daughter... with absolutely no credit to that splendor." But all isn't lost for Amore, she has her cousin/best friend, Tammy, to help with her transition. That is until she meets the young man that will change her life forever, Gabriel "Guap" Akbar. "He was the darkest hue of brown she became on the last day of summer - a blemish-free fudge swirl of a brownie. Skimming past black boy features, she fastened on the eyes - almond and poignant. The type of eyes you could get lost in and not find your way out of."

Gabriel "Guap" Akbar is a god among kings. He's young, fly and guap'd up. His father's death places him at the head of his family, a position that turns him to unsavory acts ensuring his mom and little brother never have to do without. Guap is fine with his place on the hood spectrum, that is until he meets Amore. "Let me find out young smooth-ass Guap scared of a shorty wit' some ambition." Guap, also known as The Chickenhead Killer, is intrigued by shorty with the braids, which quickly lays that moniker to rest. "'Amore, you're more than my girl. You're my hope.' He fell back into his seat, rocking his head from side to side in a tension - relieving stretch. 'A nigga was out here real-life hopeless.'"

This summer will be remembered by every single character in the book, along with every single reader. This story is an unconventional love story that is so beautifully written, so amazingly crafted, that it will definitely have you feeling aftershocks. The nostalgia felt in this book had me wanting to flip through old photo albums just so I could take this trip with Amore. "She'd received an experience from Chilltown college could never offer - A degree straight from the school of hard knocks. Without venturing in to the world yet something told Amore this summer would be the highest and the lowest of her existence." Big Ammo from Somerville went to Chilltown a kid and left a woman. This book touches on a vast array of underlying issues in the black community. You don't want to speed read through this book. There are dozens of gems dropped throughout this story, some of which you may have even experienced. From colorism all the way down to the mistreatment of black people by the police. If Takerra Allen wasn't your favorite author before, you will definitely find yourself promoting her after this riveting read.

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