THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS

An ambitious bildungsroman tackles the Big Issues: love, life and death. By age 17, Pancho has given up on the first two. His sister’s murder has left him empty of everything but the drive for revenge. Reluctantly, he takes on the job of accompanying the dying D.Q., who tries to recruit Pancho into his “Death Warrior” ethos. But meeting compassionate and pretty Marisol provokes both to question what in life is worth fighting for. While the lyrical prose captures the precious incidentals of quotidian existence, the characterization is troublesome. Pancho’s perceptive voice and his sophisticated use of language and metaphor make his random malapropisms and constant self-description as “dumb” jarring. D.Q. is an excellent foil, charming, charismatic and expansive, but also perpetuates the unfortunate trope that illness bestows special insight and wisdom, according his musings a profundity they do not quite earn. The saintly Marisol, alas, has little identity beyond the object of male desire. Yet it will be a hard-hearted reader indeed who fails to root for the tentative unfurling of this unusual friendship or closes the book without a renewed appreciation for life’s ephemeral beauty. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-15133-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This story is necessary. This story is important.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more