“But, as I said, for all that is familiar, this book is not a knock-off. The complex characterization of Donte, who also serves as the narrative voice, the point of view through which we experience the story, is especially complicatedly human. “I don’t want Trey to feel bad but I do want him to feel bad”. Then there is the visual, general descriptiveness, of the storytelling. “My head is pushed down and my body follows, collapsing in to the patrol car”. The loss of innocence. “I never thought there’d be a time where mom and dad couldn’t protect me. Is this growing up?” Another reference point, the Kerry Washington film American Son, in which, much as with Donte, the temperature in the room changes when officers are interacting with the Black mother as opposed to the white father, similarly over the fate of a son – and similarly the mother is all righteous indignation ready to take on the system while the father is just daddy (the book tackles those various levels of privilege). The relationships generally, the established ones (his parents, but especially his brother who accompanies him on his fencing journey) and the emerging ones (Zahra, a teammate and love interest, and his coach, Mr. Jones) are engaging and multi-faceted.” – read the full review in the Blogger on Books series which runs on my Jhohadli blog.

African-American writer Jewell Parker-Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen donor, a fact that had no bearing on the review.

-Joanne C. Hillhouse, blogger and author, and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator

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