Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
I'll agree with those who have said that getting into the book is a bit on the slow side, but once it gets going, man, it gets going and it's non-stop. It's a deep book, and, like some have mentioned on the blogs or in class, at once an easy read for those students who would prefer a plot- or character-driven book. Nevermind reading the book as poetry, if you don't want; but if you do and you're ready, this title is chockfull of it all: allusions, poetic devices of all kinds, a good mix of rhythms, and more. My personal favorites: the allusion to Margaret Garner and the Flying Africans in the one chapter titled "Junice Thinks of Calling Damien," pp. 87-89. There is that same sense of desperation that Garner would've felt, perhaps, leading up to the capture of the Garner family, recently escaped from slavery in Kentucky. How horrible must slavery have been that she'd do what she did to one of her children and would've done to and or for the other kids.
Read also Toni Morrison's Beloved (for another version of Garner) and Song of Solomon (for reference to the Flying Africans).