Urban Grit

A Guide to Street Lit

by Megan Honig


Gritty, raw, and controversial, "street lit" has exploded in popularity in recent years. However, it is still little understood by mainstream review media and librarians. Where can you find it? How do you connect with fans of this genre? Can it be used successfully in library programs, and what about censorship issues?

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Cover image for Urban Grit

December 2010

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 251
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Grade 8-College
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/Readers' Advisory and Leisure Reading
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/Arts and Humanities Literature Reference Tools

Offering more than 400 street-lit titles, this guide helps readers' advisors and other librarians to better understand the genre and collect and recommend titles ranging from romance and coming-of-age stories to action stories and erotica.

Street lit is also known to its enthusiastic readers as "urban fiction," "ghetto lit," "hip-hop lit," and "gangsta lit." No matter what it's called, it remains one of the most significant and increasingly popular forms of modern literature.

This text provides a much-needed resource guide to this vibrant genre. In this title, more than 400 entries appear in eleven chapters, each focusing on a different subgenre of street lit. The author has organized titles by popular subgenres and themes, such as prison life and urban erotica, to help librarians more easily identify read-alikes. Urban Grit: A Guide to Street Lit also contains practical tips on integrating these books into an existing collection or library program and meeting challenges that may arise in the process.


  • More than 400 titles fully described and organized according to subgenre, making it easy to identify read-alikes
  • Explains the history and evolution of the street lit genre and its appeal to readers
  • Contains a comprehensive bibliography of core collections for adults and young adults in public libraries that lists street lit titles by theme


  • The first readers' advisory guide for this new and fast-growing genre—one that few librarians are familiar with
  • Addresses common points of concern or hesitation around providing street lit for library patrons
  • Explains the powerful appeal of street lit to both adult and teenage audiences
Series Description

Genreflecting Advisory Series

Significantly expanded and updated, the titles in this highly acclaimed series are designed to help you quickly locate the kind of fiction your library patrons are looking for. Each title includes the latest reads and reading trends within a genre and identifies subgenres, similar titles, read-alikes, and relevant online resources. Annotations describe and evaluate the best, the most popular, and the most representative books in a genre, noting special features of the works and referencing or comparing them to related publications. Brief historical overviews, award information, section tabs for quick reference, and practical guidelines for advising readers are just some of the features you will find in these useful guides. Designed for easy access, these books are compact enough to be carried into the stacks and simple enough to be used by general readers. Essential for readers' advisory and ready-reference, they are also excellent tools for acquisitions and collection development.
Author Info

Megan Honig is an independent librarian and writer; former young adult materials specialist at the New York Public Library, New York, NY; and former editor of Young Adult Library Services (YALS).



"Recommended for professional reading shelves as well as for researchers who will find value in Honig’s defining the genre. This should be the definitive choice on the subject."—Library Journal

"Players, hustlers, and ride-or-die chicks: finally, a readers’-advisory guide to street lit. In this addition to the Genreflecting Advisory Series, New York City librarian Honig discusses street lit’s origins and appeal and lists more than 400 works of urban fiction in 11 themes, from coming-of-age to erotica. . . . A welcome resource for librarians getting up to speed on the genre."—Booklist

"Urban Grit will take anyone into an expert level of understanding the genre."—School Library Journal

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