By Any Means Necessary

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3.7
 
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By Any Means Necessary

Heart-wrenchingly honest, fans of Brandy Colbert and Nicola Yoon will anticipate this poignant reflection on what it means to choose yourself. On the day Torrey moves and 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 bank is foreclosing on the bee farm his Uncle Miles left him. Torrey’s worked hard to become the first member of his family to go to college, but while the neighborhood held him back emotionally, Uncle Miles encouraged him to reach his full potential. For years, it was just the two of them tending the farm. So Torrey can’t let someone erase his uncle’s legacy without a fight. He tries balancing his old life in L.A. with his new classes, new friends, and (sort of) new boyfriend in San Francisco, but as the farm heads for auction, the pressure of juggling everything threatens to tear him apart. Can he make a choice between his family and his future without sacrificing a part of himself?

Editor reviews

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contemplative YA contemporary
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
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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