Last Summer on State Street

Last Summer on State Street

By Toya Wolfe

"Summer, 1999. Felicia "Fe Fe" Stevens lives with her mother and older teenaged brother in building 4950 of Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes. The high-rise is next in line to be torn down by the Chicago Housing Authority, and the neighborhood is beginning to fall down around them. Fe Fe is friends with Precious and Stacia, but when Fe Fe welcomes Tonya into their fold, the dynamics shift.


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Book Information

Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publish Date: 06/14/2022
Pages: 224
ISBN-13: 9780063209749
ISBN-10: 0063209748
Language: English

What We're Saying

June 17, 2022

Last Summer on State Street: A Novel

Book Review by Emily Porter

Toya Wolfe graces us with her debut novel, a coming-of-age story set on the South side of Chicago, showing it as, yes, a hardened and dangerous neighborhood, but also a strong and resilient community.   READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

    PEN Open Book Award finalistChicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award winnerStephen Curry Underrated Literati Book Club Pick

Named a Best Book of Summer by Good Housekeeping, Chicago Magazine, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Chicago Tribune, Veranda, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, and more!

"[A] powerful novel.... Tragic, hopeful, brimming with love, Wolfe's debut is a remarkable achievement."--New York Times Book Review

For fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Brit Bennett, a striking coming-of-age debut about friendship, community, and resilience, set in the housing projects of Chicago during one life-changing summer.

Even when we lose it all, we find the strength to rebuild.

Felicia "Fe Fe" Stevens is living with her vigilantly loving mother and older teenaged brother, whom she adores, in building 4950 of Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes. It's the summer of 1999, and her high-rise is next in line to be torn down by the Chicago Housing Authority. She, with the devout Precious Brown and Stacia Buchanan, daughter of a Gangster Disciple Queen-Pin, form a tentative trio and, for a brief moment, carve out for themselves a simple life of Double Dutch and innocence. But when Fe Fe welcomes a mysterious new friend, Tonya, into their fold, the dynamics shift, upending the lives of all four girls.

As their beloved neighborhood falls down around them, so too do their friendships and the structures of the four girls' families. Fe Fe must make the painful decision of whom she can trust and whom she must let go. Decades later, as she remembers that fateful summer--just before her home was demolished, her life uprooted, and community forever changed--Fe Fe tries to make sense of the grief and fraught bonds that still haunt her and attempts to reclaim the love that never left.

Profound, reverent, and uplifting, Last Summer on State Street explores the risk of connection against the backdrop of racist institutions, the restorative power of knowing and claiming one's own past, and those defining relationships which form the heartbeat of our lives. Interweaving moments of reckoning and sustaining grace, debut author Toya Wolfe has crafted an era-defining story of finding a home--both in one's history and in one's self.

"Toya Wolfe is a storyteller of the highest order. Last Summer on State Street is a stunning debut."--Rebecca Makkai, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Believers

About the Author

Toya Wolfe grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago's South Side. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Her writing has appeared in African Voices, Chicago Journal, Chicago Reader, Hair Trigger 27 , and WarpLand.

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