Cover Image: Underprivileged Overachiever

Underprivileged Overachiever

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Member Reviews

DNF @51%

This was somewhat interesting in terms of story, but the narration would put me to sleep whenever I turned it on. It only woke me up when the author would do the voices of the people who were speaking like his coach or his friends. I did not put it down because of that, though, I put it down because there was a very graphic rape scene and the aftermath of that was both infuriating and heartbreaking. I was not prepared to listen to such descriptive traumatic events so I decided to give up. 

Let this be a reminder to normalize content/trigger warnings in books. Readers should know in advance what they're going to deal with. Their safety is important.
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This made for an excellent audiobook! It's read by the author himself and really adds to the authenticity and intimacy of the story which was extremely powerful, heart wrenching, moving and every term in between. Yohance is the quintessential success story. He was fortunate enough to have people in his life who helped him along the way but at the end of the day, it was his drive that allowed him to claw his way out. I look forward to hearing the rest of the story in books 2 and 3. 

Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for the audio arc!
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Underprivileged Overachiever is such an important read. This book dives into the life of Yohance Salimu, a high school student who makes nearly impossible strides to make it through each day. He hones in on the pursuit of his dreams and what it will take to get there. Despite all the things against him in life, his efforts, his network of mentors, and his hardships propel him into the life he desperately desired. The story isn't that he accomplished so much; it's in the details of the day-to-day struggles he faced and how they molded him. 

The chapters are short and sweet. Easy to read; Easy to listen to as an audi0book. I prefer the audiobook; I enjoyed hearing him tell his story and listening to the different inflections in his voice revealing his emotions.
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3 out of 5 stars - It was ok

Don't get me wrong, this was an interesting story.  I just had troubles following some of the details and some of the graphic content was a bit much for me.
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Looking for an excuse to stay late at Crenshaw highschool, a young Yohance Salimu joins every extracurricular activity under the sun. If school never ends, it might be possible to avoid the several hours bus ride to a homeless shelter only to do it all again in the morning. Or maybe, Salimu can manage to dodge the custodians and late working staff and catch a few hours of sleep in the school hallway for another night. At the very least, it’s a way to avoid facing the harsh reality that extreme poverty is always lurking in “the Jungles” of Baldwin Hills Los Angeles, an infamously violent neighborhood waiting to consume it’s next victim. Instead of succumbing to the nearly inevitable odds, Salimu’s strategy allows him to snowball otherwise minor opportunities like Taco Bell runs after robotics club and access to lockers from football into fewer hungry nights and clean laundry. In this way, Salimu manages to eke out a high school career filled with more than day-to-day survival. He also manages to obtain an internship at Aerospace Corporation and eventual  acceptance into the United States Air Force Academy. Perhaps the most remarkable trait of this memoir is the confidence of the author. Even while recounting unimaginable, sometimes humiliating situations Salimu’s charismatic, larger-than-life- personality shines through leaving the reader hooked on every word. Never humble, Salimu weaves original poetry and well-placed humour throughout with the art of a true story teller. Although this memoir has only one true character, Salimu also manages to make the reader feel a connection to his boisterous but caring coach and “nerdy version of Santa Claus” mentor offering these characters as a hopeful and humorous reprieve to otherwise dire situations. It is clear that Yohance Salimu was destined to tell this story that is so painful yet equally important for youth who are struggling to get by and those with the opportunities to mentor. 

Thoughts: This is not a stand alone read for teens. It contains graphic descriptions of adult situations including sexual assault and violence for which support should be provided. However, Salimu’s story is one that needs to be told. Young adult listeners will easily connect to the author’s gregarious personality in print. However, Salimu’s narration in the audiobook version adds even more authenticity to his words.
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I'm thrilled that I listened to everyone else's advice and decided to listen to the audiobook. I can't picture just reading this story. Yohance reads his own story, which provides an element of closeness that you would miss while reading. The emotions you hear in his words help propel his story.

While there is language, sexual themes, and a CW of rape, all these are necessary and never feels done for shock factor. Yohance's story is a powerful one, and one that needs to be heard. It's a story many teens and adults can relate to or learn something from. 
His spirit and determination and not letting his socioeconomic status stop him from achieving his dreams is admirable. 
His ego and cockiness is hysterical, and I love that he acknowledges it as a coping mechanism.
His humbleness and thankfulness of those who helped him and looked out for him is heartwarming.

I can't wait for the next two books and hope his inner voice is yelling at him to get on it! :)
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This is a book about overcoming the trouble life throws at you to become successful in spite of it. The author is the narrator which makes the telling more emotional and real. Also, this is a book I would recommend to any inner-city high school student. I would recommend it to you get students however there are some language/adult situations that would not be appropriate for this age level. Looking forward to seeing what else this author has to say!
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I was able to listen to this audiobook, read by the author, and I must recommend that you listen to it over reading it. The only thing I think I missed out on by listening was viewing the pictures at the beginning of each chapter.  Having Yohance (Rhymes with Beyonce!) read his story to you in his own words makes it much more dynamic. I think him relaying his story made it for me, even when the flow or details in the story were lacking. 
This book is raw and real, which means it discusses some heavy topics. Poverty, hunger, gangs, violence, rape, mental illness and deceit can all be found within the pages, BUT you will also find perseverance, tenacity, intelligence, honesty, love, and mentorship. 
Yohance is one of 18 siblings who grows up in the Jungles of Los Angeles. After becoming homeless, he works tirelessly in school to not only make a way for himself in the world, but to provide for his family. He lived with multiple friends in short stints and spent time in shelters whenever he had to. He joined as many clubs as possible in order to not have to go “home” at the end of the day when he had no home to go to. This is a true “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” memoir that tackles hard things in a way that makes you feel as if you spent a few hours with Yohance over coffee. 
While there were parts that I wish were more detailed or seemed forced, it is evident that you are watching this story unfold through the author’s eyes, and that there is some license in that.
I look forward to reading the next two installments of his story, whenever they come around.
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Younger readers should be advised that the book contains some mature content.

Over the past year I’ve really dipped my toe into memoirs, and have been glad to add this one to my list. This was an important addition to this genre, describing the day to day challenges of life as a homeless Black teenager in Los Angeles. I thought it was well balanced in the relatable struggles every teenager faces, with the heartbreaking and realistic circumstances that he faced in his situation. There were some great characters in his life which Salimu really bought to life in his narration of the book. 

The author is very honest about his mistakes, and continuously strives to grow as a person. It was great to hear about how he gets his big break job that can support him and his family, and the story of him and his girlfriend practising piano together made me stop what I was doing and sit and listen to the chapter without distractions.

I found Salimu’s sense of humour great most of the time, although a little cocky in places, particularly in the epilogue/acknowledgements. Despite this, Salimu has an interesting story to tell, and I’d be interested to explore his further two books to see how the story continues.
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Thanks to Netgalley for providing this ARC.

Thanks to the author for being supportive of my Youtube channel and just being super nice.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Y.A. Salimu.

This book was the best. I really loved it. The audiobook was also great and I highly recommend reading it in that way.

A sum up of everything that was good in this book:

The pace. It were quick short chapters with enough information to have an idea of the life of the author, but it didn't get overwhelming or very fact based.

The writing. Very good structure in the story and awesome dialogue.

The story itself. Can't really say anything on this, because it's a non-fiction story, but I think it was fascinating to read about someone so completely different from me. I found it very interesting to listen to this side of America that I don't know a lot about.

The author himself. He narrates his own book, which is super cool, but does it in a way that makes you feel very connected to him. He is just awesome and I hope more people will read his stories.

Can't wait for the next books in this series.
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¡Hola, mi gente! Today I will be reviewing my first audiobook arc so a HUGE thank you to the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for this opportunity. So where should I start? 
Underprivileged Overachiever is a memoir about Y.A. Salimu's life but specifically his life as a teenager making this a perfect YA read. He had a hard life as an Afro-Latinx teenager who was also homeless, he had to work 1k times harder than everyone else to achieve his dream and that he did. This is his story as he grows, learns, struggle, and work hard to get to the place he wanted to be. I enjoyed listening to his story and how he did not let his circumstances get in the way. I think it's a very important read.
The audiobook was fantastic. It is narrated by the author which I love because it makes the experience feel more real and intimate. He also has a really nice soothing voice which I love. 
I do gotta say that one thing that bothers me from this read is the toxic masculinity. Yes, it is questioned but only in very few times and at times it is promoted. But this is based on his experience so I can't say too much about it because he's sharing not telling you what to do.
Overall, this is a very interesting read and I'm looking forward to his future works. IMPORTANT: BEWARE POSSIBLE TRIGGERS!!! Trigger warning at the bottom.
Rating: 3 stars which for me is a good rating.

parent with mental illness
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This is the story of Yohance. It pretty much follows his high school days as he crashes at friend's houses or sleeps at the homeless shelter with his family and still tries to get good grades at school. He doesn't get a lot of food, but football is important to him, so he does what he can so he can be a good athlete. Yohance overcomes tremendous odds as he tries to get into college.

This was a great story. It's a story of hope and not giving up and knowing that you can do anything. As I read about Yohance's life, I couldn't help but to be surprised that children live this way, that we live in a society that doesn't provide better for the people who live here. Yohance experienced so much and I'm so grateful that he found awesome adults to be his mentors and his friends. I did hope this would be a book that I could recommend for families to have in their home library, however it has some content that parents would want to tread carefully with. See trigger warnings below. This was an incredible book though and I do recommend it for those who are trying to educate themselves and searching for "own voices" books. 

I listened to the audio book, which is read by the author. He did a great job and I loved all his voices! 

Trigger Warnings: Lots of cussing and a rape scene. 

I give this book 3.5 Stars
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This book was made for me by the narration.  The voice of the author comes through because the author is narrating.  You are taken out of a book and into a man telling the stories of his life.  We know but don't often get to see the lives of our students.  We try to make a difference but we know that many of them live in two different worlds.  Here we get to see those different worlds from someone very aware of his own duality (I think he has more than two selves he goes between).  There are some hard scenes to listen to and there are times when machismo and chauvinism are really strong.  Women were one dimensional and had one purpose based on his relationship to them but he tried hard to get to know a lot of the men in his life, not surprising considering his relationship with his own father and his need to bring back the good memories of what his dad was in his life when he was around.  Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cringe, sometimes you cry.  It was a powerful experience.
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I received an audio advance copy of this memoir in exchange for an honest review. The story was read by the author and had a very pleasant voice to listen to. Yohance is one of 18 children, although only one of them is discussed in the memoir. Yohance was homeless through all of his high school years. His mother suffered from mental illness (although this was hardly mentioned) and he had an absentee father. Yohance joined every club he could and participated in sports, just to have somewhere to go after school. He managed to hide his homelessness from most of his friends and teammates. Based on the title, you know that Yohance overcame his background and secured an appointment to the Air Force Academy. However, Yohance ends his story at his high school graduation and mentions that he thinks he will write three books about his life, even though he is only in his 30s. This could be a very inspirational book for high school students, except it is a little crude in spots and has a graphic scene that would not be appropriate. By ending the book at the point in his life where he did, students would not know how well he did in life with the circumstances he grew up in.
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Underprivileged Overachiever: A Crenshaw Story
by Y. A. Salimu
Narrated by Yohance Salimu ( The author)
This is a memoir relaying the day to day struggles in the life as a homeless, poverty stricken teenager living in Los Angeles.  I enjoyed this book and it kept my attention.
I would say that it has scenes of a very graphic nature, not suitable for young teenagers or for people who need to avoid triggers.
Narration. The narrator has an American accent. I like the authors voice BUT he reads very fast and reducing the speed just distorted it. I did miss some words due to this and I also found it a bit to hectic for bedtime listening.  Overall the narration was very good.
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Perseverance, determination, and confidence. These are the words that come to mind as I finish listening to this insightful memoir about growing up homeless in south Los Angeles. The author shares significant moments in his youth that could have ended differently, and most were based on the choices he made to change the trajectory of his life. He infuses humor into his story, which kept my attention. This book can be seen as encouragement for youth in similar predicaments, yet I truly believe anyone can benefit from the message of: you are not defined by the cards you are dealt. I believe this book is best listened-to, as read by the author, because his voice adds spice to his story. Overall this was well-written, and I look forward to the other books he promises to write.
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Powerful, thought-provoking, important and at times difficult memoir by Yohance (pronounced like Beyonce, but with a Y) Salimu. (CN for sexual assault, violence)
Growing up black and homeless in LA, the book primarily deals with the authors teenage years and his ability to overcome and excel in spite of everything he's been through. I applaud Salimu's honesty in sharing his experiences, especially being the victim of sexual assault. Men are actually more likely to be sexually assaulted, than to be falsely accused of committing sexual assault, yet too often only the latter is spoken of. True strength lies in speaking about these things, in knowing that it doesn't diminish your masculinity. 
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author himself and he did an excellent job (and I really appreciated being able to hear the pronunciation of his name, as a non-native English speaker I have more than once been caught out by words not being pronounced how they are written). Sometimes when authors read their own work it can feel forced, doesn't flow right, but that wasn't the case at all here. It feels more like Salimu is telling you the story, rather than reading from a script. You can sense both passion, and vulnerability in the words, which really added to the overall impact compared to just reading it yourself. Having the audiobook available also makes the book more accessible to people who might not be confident readers themselves. 
Definitely recommend Underprivileged Overachiever, and if you can I would go for the audiobook.
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Great book. Hits differently as I know the author personally but even for the people who don't know author, this book will be a good read!
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Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for approving me for the audiobook ARC for this book so I can leave my honest review.

I can honestly say, listening to this memoir being told by the author himself had my husband and I completely SHOOK. Learning about Yohance and his family was one of the most heartbreaking books that I think I've read this year so far. Being underprivilaged is no joke, homelessness is no joke, sexual abuse, and abuse in general is nothing to joke about. Hearing his story going from living in The Place and staying with friends, he did everything he could to make it to the top. never gave up, never looked back. Yohance made a real difference in his life for not just himself but he did it for his younger brother and helped pave the road for him and others on the robotics team.
Thank you for taking the time to tell your story, even though it was filled with sadness and heartbreaking situations. Knowing that he gave his all is what makes this book a 5 star read. I truly hope he writes the other 2 he has planned.
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This was a solid biography.  I enjoyed the narrator's voice a great deal.  I was reading this for consideration for a state teen award nomination, and decided to pass on it despite the great narration.  I found it took too long to pick up and become interesting, and I thought it would loose teens because of this.
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