by Joy

July 2005
ISBN: 0-312-32879-6
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Trade Paperback

Harlem Jones has succeeded against all odds. Despite tragedy and landing in foster homes after her mother succumbed to the lure of crack, Harlem comes into an unexpected legacy and owns her business and home at age twenty-six. She lives the perfect urban life along with her best friend and business partner, Morgan. They both enjoy men, but it is hard to find a good one. When Harlem meets York she is suspicious, but he is charming as well as street smart and they have come through similar struggles. For all York's strength, Harlem realizes she can only depend on herself after horrific tragedy strikes.

If I Ruled the World is aimed at the niche audience who enjoy hip-hop and the new urban genre of novels. As someone who works in a large suburban library, I am always glad to see ways to reach new audiences who would not normally pick up a book. Although heavily peppered with profanity and violence, as are many popular hip-hop songs, this novel still is ultimately a tale of hope and redemption.

The love scenes are definitely NC-17 rated, but they fit the narrative structure and overall tone of the novel. The author has a firm sense of place and brings her native Columbus, Ohio alive in the plot. I thought it was clever that Harlem speaks of promoting new authors in her store. As a reviewer I have come across many promising authors who are just as skilled as the bestselling ones, but just need more exposure. One of the joys of reviewing is hoping you can get the word out on unsung talent.

Author Joy has already had an "Essence" bestseller with her first novel, Dollar Bill and is working on her next novel. She is wished much success.

Reviewed in November 2005 by Roberta.

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