Abby West
January 24, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Upstate captures the tenacity and faithfulness of young love, as well as its heartache, through letters written between Harlem teens Natasha and Antonio over the decade following his questionable incarceration for killing his father. Kalisha Buckhanon beautifully illustrates their diverging paths with two almost simultaneous letters that show Natasha’s joy on a summer academic program in Paris and Antonio’s despair at being in lockdown, watching as ”the sun passed by our tiny window.” The epistolary style does not always allow the characters the fullness they deserve, but the final letters provide a fitting payoff.

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