Street Pharm
Simon Pulse
July 11, 2006
ISBN-10: 1416911545
ISBN-13: 978-1416911548

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If a brother wanna get ahead, he gotta use every minute to better himself.
Everything I did made me better—tougher, stronger, richer, smarter—or I didn't do it.

Take high school. A waste of time. Nobody there taught me what I needed to survive on the streets...

Ty Johnson knows survival. Since inheriting his pop's business at sixteen, Ty's developed smarts, skills, and mad discipline. The supply game's in his blood. And life is pretty sweet when you're on top.

But one slip - or one serious competitor - and life turns ugly fast. Suddenly, Ty's got to rethink his whole strategy. And for the #1 dealer on the streets, strategy is not just about staying ahead. It's about survival.




"[Allison] van Diepen has created a compelling, morally challenging, and emotionally rewarding work. Street Pharm is precisely the kind of book that will draw young readers and, more importantly, keep them reading. Street Pharm is a daring book, a gripping read that can be enjoyed as much by adults as by YA readers. With skilled characterization, tight plotting, and a sensitive ear for the language of the streets, Street Pharm is a remarkable achievement."
— Quill and Quire (Starred Review)

"There is plenty of swearing, violence, and raunchy topics scattered in the dialogue and the action because this book takes a realistic look at life in a dangerous urban neighborhood. The author researched this story while working in a perilous inner-city Brooklyn high school. It is an eye-opening account of a nice kid who is caught between two worlds and has to make some tough decisions. It also conveys a poignant message for reluctant readers."

"This book, set in inner-city Brooklyn, pushes the envelope of edgy writing for teens. Now that his dad is in jail, 17-yr old Ty is running the family business – dealing drugs – and trying to keep the source of his income secret. When a new dealer tries to take over his business, a turf war begins. Ty tries to do the right thing for the business and his father, but when it’s life and death, he may have to change his business plan. This doesn’t feel like a young-adult book – it’s gritty, the slang rings true and the story is not pretty. Maybe that’s why it works."
— Taylor Morris, Romantic Times Book Reviews

"Allison van Diepen drew on her experiences as a social studies teacher at one of Brooklyn's most dangerous public high schools. What resulted is her first novel, STREET PHARM, a gripping story about a teen drug dealer, Ty Johnson, with a serious reputation on the streets. The book's message is strong and its story is captivating."
— Faze Magazine

"Van Diepen's keen eye and ear bring the teens' world to life: hip hop, clothes, customs, thoughts and culture. The author skillfully captures the social, physical and emotional costs of a young drug lord trying to keep it together in an unsettling urban landscape."
— David Goldberg, Globe and Mail

Tyrone Johnson, Self-Made Man

"What are you gonna be when you grow up?" That's what most kids got asked.

Not me.

Mom always asked me what I wasn't gonna be, and you know what she wanted me to say?

A dealer, stealer, free-wheeler, player, hater, a downright dog - that's what my dad was.

When I came home from school, Mom was on the couch watching Dr. Phil. As usual.

"How was school, baby?"

"Good." No way I was gonna tell her I got kicked out. Really ass-to-the-curb kicked out this time. Starting tomorrow, I was supposed to show up at some alternative school.

"You working hard?"

"Yeah." Sweet, clueless Mom never noticed that I hadn't carried a book bag since the ninth grade.

"There's beef patties in the oven."

I checked the clock: 3:37 PM. She'd be getting up from the sofa in about three minutes, getting ready for fifteen, and out the door in twenty.

When the commercial came on, Mom went to her room. I attacked the patties, only stopping to add more ketchup. A few minutes later, she came back into the kitchen in her grocery store uniform, her name tag already pinned on like she was proud or something. "You working tonight?" she asked me.

"Yeah." I gave up my cheek for a kiss while guzzling o.j. and she threw on her coat and hurried out the door.

Mom thought I worked at The Flatbush Sports Club on Atlantic Avenue. I ain't worked there a day in my life - but the manager owed me. He was one of my customers.

Time to get down to this brother's real bread-and-butter.

I took out my cell and speed-dialed Sonny.

"Ty! What the fuck's going on? Why'd you turn off your cell?"

"Mind your business. What's going on?"

"I need your help, son. Tonight we got us some deliveries."

"Already got some."

"Well I got more for you."

"Go on."

I wrote the stuff in my Palm Pilot.

"Hold up," I said, "who's this Schultz guy?"

"A new customer I met last week. Told him we was getting a shipment with the hottest shit this side of Bogota. He gonna drop five Gs!" "You ain't kidding. How'd he find out about us?"

"In the fucking yellow pages."

"Seriously, Sonny, who told him?"

"Who? Shit, like he was gonna tell me! What, you think his friend wants a finder's fee or something?"

"Listen, if you so confident about him, you make the delivery."

"Can't, I promised Desarae we'd see a late movie. Schultz wants the stuff at ten."

"I'm not making this delivery unless you gimme some reason to think he ain't a cop."

"Ty, this guy ain't 5-0. Don't you think I can sniff out a cop by now?"

"I ain't risking my neck on your sense of smell, Sonny. Tell Michael Brown to make the delivery."

Michael Brown.

That little brother'd win the award for the most eager young hustler in Flatbush.

Quick, reliable.

Fourteen years old.

"A'ight, I'll tell Michael," Sonny said. "He can drop some stuff off at the Wilkes place too."

That was what I liked about Sonny. He talked the shit, but when push came to shove, he always backed down. He knew the game was in my blood.



A talented young film student in San Francisco has made a Street Pharm trailer. It's a dark and gritty interpretation of Street Pharm, and I was incredibly impressed. Be warned, though: it is only appropriate for mature viewers due to violent content.

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