Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2122
Compelling!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I'll be honest. When I picked up this book to read it for this review, I assumed I probably wouldn't like it. Most of this assumption came from the cover, which doesn't draw me in. The rest of this assumption was the fact that I felt I wouldn't necessarily connect with the story.

I was totally wrong.

This book is an authentic, raw, honest, wise, and thought-provoking exploration of race, of reaching for more even when you aren't sure what that really looks like, and of how it feels to straddle your childhood and the person you think you'd like to become. I was instantly immersed in the world of East Cincinnati. Not just the scenery, but the bravado, the survival instincts, the pride, the poverty, and the general acceptance that this was all life had to offer, and you were lucky if you survived the streets long enough to see your eighteenth birthday.

I connected with Anthony immediately. I was riveted as he made the difficult decision to leave all he knew and travel miles away to a private school full of people who couldn't begin to understand how he thought or what motivated his choices. From the beginning, Ant struggles to assimilate into a world so different from the one he knew. And then he struggles to maintain his identity once he does assimilate. We watch his journey from angry kid with attitude to a young man who wants to speak up about the streak of racism that is buried so deep within the school, most refuse to even acknowledge its existence. It's an amazing journey, made all the richer by the fact that Ant is a far from perfect character. His journey is full of false starts, good intentions with bad results, and a gradual assumption of leadership he never knew he wanted to claim.

I highly recommend this book. There are some instances of drug use (pot), but I think it's handled in a way that will not come across as a recommendation for readers to follow suit. There are also a few instances of harder profanity, but again, it feels very authentic to the environment and situation. This is a story worth reading.
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