Authors: L. Divine
“You'll definitely feel for Jayd Jackson, the bold sixteen-year-old Compton, California, junior at the center of keep-it-real Drama High stories.”
Drama High: Jayd's Legacy
“Egged with comedy and a provoking street-savvy plot line, Compton native and Drama High author L. Divine writes a fascinating story capturing the voice of young black America.”
The Cincinnati Herald
on the Drama High series
“Filled with all the elements that make for a good bookâyoung love, non-stop drama, and a taste of the supernatural, it is sure to please.”
âThe RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on
Drama High: The Fight
“A captivating look at teen life.”
âHarriet Klausner on
Drama High: The Fight
“If you grew up on a steady diet of saccharine-
novels and think there aren't enough books specifically for African-American teens, you're in luck.”
The Prince George's Sentinel
Drama High: The Fight
“Through a healthy mix of book smarts, life experiences, and down-to-earth flavor, L. Divine has crafted a well-nuanced coming-of-age tale for African-American youth.”
The Atlanta Voice
Drama High: The Fight
“Drama High has it allâ¦fun, fast, addictive.”
âCara Lockwood, bestselling author of
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Dafina Books for Young Readers
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP
To my publicist at Kensington, Adeola Saul, for having
faith in the series and for being an enthusiastic passenger
on this journey. From the beginning you've been a
consistent cheerleader. Thank you for your continued
To Walter, Steven, John, Laurie, Magee, Jessica, Lydia,
Barbara, David, Darla, Helen, Selena, and the rest of the
folks at Kensington Publishing Corp.: Thank you for being
flexible and patient always. To my former publicists,
Christal Jordan-Mims in Atlanta and Parthenia Bozeman
in Los Angeles, for backing the series from the start.
And to my agent, Brendan Deneen: Thank you for helping to make my dreams a reality and for courting Jayd like a true gentleman.
A sassy sixteen-year-old from Compton, California, who comes from a long line of Louisiana conjure women. She is the only one in her lineage born with brown eyes and a caul. Her grandmother appropriately named her “Jayd,” which is also the name her grandmother took on in her days as a Voodoo queen in New Orleans. She lives with her grandparents, four uncles, and her cousin Jay. Jayd is in all AP classes and visits her mother on the weekend. She has a tense relationship with her father, whom she sees occasionally, and has never-ending drama in her life, whether at school or home.
When Jayd gets in over her head, her grandmother, Mama, is always there to help her. A full-time conjure woman with magical green eyes and a long list of both clients and haters, Mama also serves as Jayd's teacher, confidante, and protector.
At thirty-something years old, Lynn Marie would never be mistaken for a mother of a teenager. But Jayd's mom is definitely all that and with her green eyes, she keeps the men guessing. Able to talk to Jayd telepathically, Lynn Marie is always there when Jayd needs her.
Mama's nemesis and Jayd's nightmare, this next-door neighbor is anything but friendly. She relocated to Compton from Louisiana around the same time Mama did and has been a thorn in Mama's side ever since. She continuously causes trouble for Mama and Jayd, interfering with Jayd's school life through Misty, Mrs. Bennett, and Jeremy's mom. Esmeralda's cold blue eyes have powers of their own, although not nearly as powerful as Mama's.
Rah is Jayd's first love from Junior High school who has come back into her life when a mutual friend, Nigel, transfers from Rah's high school (Westingle) to South Bay. He knows everything about her and is her spiritual confidant. Rah lives in Los Angeles but grew up with his grandparents in Compton like Jayd. He loves Jayd fiercely but has a girlfriend that refuses to go away (Trish) and a baby-mama (Sandy). Rah is a hustler by necessity and a music producer by talent. He takes care of his younger brother Kamal and holds the house down while his dad is locked up and his mother strips at a local club.
The word “frenemies” was coined for this former best friend of Jayd's. Misty has made it her mission to sabotage Jayd any way she can. Living around the corner from Jayd, she has the unique advantage of being an original hater from the neighborhood and at school.
He's the most popular basketball player on campus, Jayd's ex-boyfriend, and Misty's current boyfriend. Ever since he and Jayd broke up, he's made it his personal mission to persecute her.
One of Jayd's best friends, Nellie is the prissy princess of the crew. She is also dating Chance, even though it's Nigel she's really feeling. Nellie made history at South Bay by becoming the first Black Homecoming princess and has let the crown go to her head.
The gangster girl of Jayd's small crew. She and Nellie are best friends but often at odds with each other, mostly because Nellie secretly wishes she could be more like Mickey. A true hood girl, she loves being from Compton and her man with no name is a true gangster.
A first for Jayd, Jeremy is her white ex-boyfriend who also happens to be the most popular cat at South Bay. Rich, tall and extremely handsome, Jeremy's witty personality and good conversation keep Jayd on her toes and give Rah a run for his moneyâliterally.
Never using his name, Mickey's original boyfriend is a troublemaker and always hot on Mickey's trail. Always in and out of jail, Mickey's man is notorious in her hood for being a coldhearted gangster, and loves to be in control. He also has a thing for Jayd but Jayd can't stand to be anywhere near him.
The new quarterback on the block, Nigel is a friend of Jayd's from junior high and also Rah's best friend, making Jayd's world even smaller at South Bay High. Nigel is the star football player and dumped his ex-girlfriend at Westingle (Tasha) to be with his new baby-mama to be, Mickey. Jayd is caught up in the mix as both of their friends, but her loyalty lies with Nigel because she's known him longer and he's always had her back.
The rich white hip-hop kid of the crew, Chance is Jayd's drama homie and Nellie's boyfriend, if you let him tell it. He used to have a crush on Jayd and now has turned his attention to Nellie.
The youngest of Mama's children and Jayd's favorite uncle, Bryan is a dj by night and works at the local grocery store during the day. He's also an acquaintance of both Rah and KJ from playing ball around the hood. Bryan often gives Jayd helpful advice about her problems with boys and hating girls alike. Out of all of Jayd's uncles, Bryan gives her grandparents the least amount of trouble.
Jay is more like an older brother to Jayd than her cousin. Like Jayd, he lives with Mama but his mother (Mama's youngest daughter) left him when he was a baby and never returned. He doesn't know his father and attends Compton High. He and Jayd often cook together and help Mama around the house.
aven't you heard of no white after Labor Day, Jayd?” Mrs. Bennett, my most hated teacher, says, commenting on my bright attire. Apparently, it's okay for folks to wear all black on any given day. But put on white from head to toe, and you stick out like a sore thumb.
“Other people's opinions of you don't matter, Jayd. It's what you think of yourself and your heritage that counts,” Mama says, creeping into my dream as usual. Do all grandmothers have this ability, or is it just mine?
“She's right, Jayd,” my mom says. I guess my dream world has become community property. “I know it's difficult sticking out in a crowd, especially at school, but it's worth it. Trust me.” And I know she knows what she's talking about. My mom gave up on her spirit lessons in high school. So why are they all up in my head this morning?
“Look at that witch,” Reid says, no longer in character as Macbeth but joined by the rest of the drama class in his taunting. “My mom told me about people like you.”
“Yeah, my great grandmother remembered hearing stories about slaves with strange powers,” Mrs. Bennett says. What is she doing in drama class? She and Mrs. Sinclair don't get along at all. “They had to be put in their place to protect the others on the plantation,” she says, raising her pointer above her head, which she yields like a weapon in class on a regular basis, ready to strike.
“Fight back, Jayd, like I taught you to,” Mama whispers into my ear as I stand my ground in the center of the room. Everyone has surrounded me, ready to watch the whipping I'm supposed to receive. “None of our ancestors took shit laying down, Jayd. We come from a long line of warriors. Girl, get up and fight!”
“You have no right to judge me,” I say, taking a step back from Mrs. Bennett. None of my friends are here to help me. Only my enemies have come to watch. “And you damn sure have no right to hit me,” I say. Mrs. Bennett looks at me, her cold blue eyes shimmering like our wicked neighbor Esmeralda's did when she gave me my headache from hell, which starts again as I stare back at her. What the hell?
I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Watching me stumble and fall to my knees in the center of the circle, the entire class laughs hysterically at my demise. At any minute I'm going to vomit from the dizziness in my head. The laughing is getting louder and more dramatic. The scene switches and Reid is now in character. But instead of being Lady Macbeth, I'm one of the witches. Alia's still laughing along with the rest of the onlookers as Mrs. Bennett readies herself to take a cheap shot at me while I'm already down.
“Jayd, don't you hear that alarm, girl? Get up,” Mama yells from her bed, instinctively saving me from my psychic beat-down.
“Sorry, Mama. I'm off my game a little this morning,” I say, shaking my head free of the leftover pounding from my dream. I haven't seen Esmeralda since I gave Misty her gris-gris ingredients last week and I leave out of the back door now always, just in case she's feeling bold. After getting a taste of her powers, I'll never give Esmeralda the chance to catch me off-guard again.
“As soon as you realize it's a game you can master, you won't ever be off it again,” Mama says, giving me insight into my own visions, as usual. How does she do that?
“She's Mama,” my mom says, contributing her two cents. “You haven't even seen ten percent of what she can really do. Why do you think I stay out of her way?”
“If your mom's in your head, please tell her to call me. It's time for her to get a reading about this new man of hers,” Mama says, rolling over in her bed and returning to sleep. When did I become a psychic mailwoman?
“Mama says to call her,” I say out loud, knowing they both heard me.
“Damn, see what I mean Jayd? She probably already did the reading and wants to see what I have to say. Ain't no hiding from Mama.”
And don't I know it. I'll have to talk to her about my dream later. Now it's time to get to school and face the music. Things have been really tense since everyone found out about me trying to help Misty, especially when I came to school wearing all white last week. But, I'm not going to be deterred from living my life. And with my crew back together as tight as glue, I know I'll be just fine.