Books by G. Neri

GRAND THEFT HORSE by G. Neri
YOUNG ADULT
Released: Sept. 25, 2018

"Amid the strife and sadness there are moments of joy and passion, and the message of standing up for your convictions makes this a necessary tale. (Nonfiction graphic novel. 12-18)"
Gail Ruffu, a woman of Creole descent, grew up with a love of horses and later took a stand against their abuse. Read full book review >
WHEN PAUL MET ARTIE by G. Neri
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 20, 2018

"Part nostalgia, part history, and all tuneful. (afterword, discography, bibliography, musical connections) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)"
Two boys from New York City briefly but spectacularly captured the spirit of 1960s music. Read full book review >
TRU & NELLE by G. Neri
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"An absorbing story of true friends in troubled times. (author's note, acknowledgments, recipe) (Historical fiction. 10-12)"
In the sequel to Tru & Nelle (2016), Christmas in tiny Monroeville, Alabama, is hardly jolly. Read full book review >
TRU & NELLE by G. Neri
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2016

"An engaging portrait of two children's world before they became famous. (Historical fiction. 10-12)"
The friendship of Nelle Harper Lee and Truman Capote, inspiration for Scout and Dill in Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, is fictionalized in "a flavorful bowl of southern homestyle yarns."Read full book review >
HELLO, I'M JOHNNY CASH by G. Neri
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"An exceptional portrait of one of the most recognizable musicians of all time. (author's note, timeline, discography, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)"
Before he was Johnny Cash, he was J.R., a country boy who lived a hard, farming life and loved music. Read full book review >
KNOCKOUT GAMES by G. Neri
YOUNG ADULT
Released: Aug. 1, 2014

"Harsh and relentless, a tough but worthy read. (Fiction. 12-16)"
New girl Erica falls in with the wrong crowd in an exploration of racial tension in St. Louis. Read full book review >
GHETTO COWBOY by G. Neri
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 9, 2011

"Cole doesn't ride off into the sunset here, but he does, at least, ride off to a better future. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Twelve-year-old Cole has messed up one too many times, and now his mother has taken him from Detroit to Philadelphia to live with his father, whom Cole doesn't know. Read full book review >
YUMMY by G. Neri
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

A haunting, ripped-from-the-headlines account of youth gang violence in Chicago provides the backdrop for a crucial mediation on right and wrong. The fictional Roger, Neri's protagonist and moral compass, revisits the cautionary tale of classmate Robert "Yummy" Sandifer, an 11-year-old shorty with a sweet tooth, in this dramatic re-creation of his brief life. During the sweltering summer of 1994, Yummy's gang initiation goes horribly awry: A bullet intended for rival gangsters accidentally cuts down Shavon Dean, 14, a former childhood playmate. As the nation—from Time magazine to then-President Clinton—reels with shock, Yummy goes into hiding, setting the stage for Roger to investigate the "Little Killer's" beginnings before the summer, and Yummy's life, comes to a grisly end. DuBurke's raw illustrations evoke the heightened emotions of the time. The artist adeptly balances the contradictions of Yummy's life, as scenes of exaggerated violence (torching cars and looting stores) slowly dissolve into typical childhood vignettes (pet frogs and beloved teddy bears). A much-needed look at the terrifying perils of life on the margins that will have all readers pondering the heady question of moral responsibility. (Graphic fiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
SURF MULES by G. Neri
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2009

At the end of their senior year, three Southern California teenage surfers mark time while seeking the Perfect Monster Wave. Logan, Z-Boy and Fin, once known as the Three Musketeers, have drifted apart due to Fin's surfing stardom. Logan and Z-Boy simply hang loose and smoke weed. When Fin tragically drowns, Logan and Z-Boy are awash with grief. Needing quick cash, they fall back on what they know and are hired as drug mules to drive a car stuffed with pot from Los Angeles to Orlando. Fueled by junk food and Mountain Dew, the journey starts off cool, but their friendship unravels under the stress of performing a felony. Neri sandwiches his story between a crackling opening and a whipsaw climactic scene, but jumbled sideplots cause some sagging around the middle, in which the happy-go-lucky tone seems out of step with the serious situation. Still, older boys who say they've never read anything will be attracted to the novel's profanity, prodigious amounts of pot and friendship on the brink of disaster. (Fiction. YA) Read full book review >
CHESS RUMBLE by G. Neri
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"Battles is fought every day" in 11-year-old Marcus's 'hood. Not only has his father abandoned the family, but his sister has recently died, leaving him frustrated, angry and ready to fight—even with his worried, red-eyed mother and his younger twin brothers. Just as his volatility starts to get him into real trouble, Marcus meets a Yoda-like chess master and ex-con in the school library who challenges him to a game of chess. At first, Marcus's "opening move" is to hurl the chessboard groundward, but in time, he learns to master the game—and his temper. Marcus tells his story in street slang, in a conversational first-person voice. (While the narrative is presented as free verse, the lines break more randomly than poetically.) The acrylic black-and-white illustrations are particularly effective at capturing natural expressions and the concrete-gray inner-cityscape, though the abundant chess imagery that surfaces in unlikely places feels overdone. There's plenty of powerful emotion here, but the heavy dose of life lessons leaves the overall effort a few moves short of a checkmate. (Fiction/poetry. 9-12)Read full book review >