Featured Review: By Any Means Necessary (Candice Montgomery)
About This Book:
An honest reflection on cultural identify, class, and gentrification. Fans of Nic Stone and Elizabeth Acevedo will eagerly anticipate Torrey.
On the day Torrey officially becomes a college freshman, he gets a call that might force him to drop out before he’s even made it through orientation: the bee farm his beloved uncle Miles left him after his tragic death is being foreclosed on.
Torrey would love nothing more than to leave behind the family and neighborhood that’s bleeding him dry. But he still feels compelled to care for the project of his uncle’s heart. As the farm heads for auction, Torrey precariously balances choosing a major and texting Gabriel—the first boy he ever kissed—with the fight to stop his uncle’s legacy from being demolished. But as notice letters pile up and lawyers appear at his dorm, dividing himself between family and future becomes impossible unless he sacrifices a part of himself.
*Review Contributed By Olivia Farr Staff Reviewer*
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY is an engaging contemporary YA that presents some issues very well. The writing is in a stream-of-conscientiousness style through which we follow the main character, Torrey, very closely. Torrey is about to begin his freshman year of college at SFSU. He had been mainly raised by his aunt, after his mother entered into a coma due to brain injuries of a fall compounded by drug abuse and his uncle was killed by police.
His uncle left him an apiary in a gentrifying area of town, which has kept making money, and which he loves. However, as he is beginning college, he learns that due to unpaid property taxes (a job a relative had taken on as he was not of age), the apiary is going to be auctioned off. Considering the area, it is desirable for businesses to acquire it in this gentrifying part of town- part of what made the property taxes get so high after they owned it.
Torrey must also balance his personal life into the mix- college and navigating classes as a first generation student, homophobia from others (even relatives), a crush that he had an intense relationship with when he was younger, and new friendships.
The best part of this book is the presentation of social issues that give the reader something to think about, and there are a lot that a black, LGBT teen would have to deal with. They are all presented in a way that really makes the reader think and consider, and this was really strong. However, I had a hard time getting into the style of the writing as a lot of the past/facts are glossed over. I actually would have liked a more in-depth introduction to Torrey's world and the characters in it. There's a lot to unpack, and it was pretty fast-paced, which also holds its own appeal.
Overall, this is a strong YA contemporary fiction with some great romance and important issues raised. I would recommend for fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.
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