LIGHT IT UP by Kekla Magoon
Kirkus Star

LIGHT IT UP

Age Range: 14 - 18
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The shooting of an unarmed African American teen by police serves as catalyst for racial tension in a community still recovering from a previous tragedy.

This time, Shae Tatum, a 13-year-old girl, is shot by a white police officer. Two years have passed since the killing of Tariq Johnson, and the community organizations that arose in the aftermath are more active. Social media scrutiny has intensified, with the media and police focusing on public messaging. The officer’s family copes with being in the spotlight, and a minister who was in the limelight is now a senator. Tariq’s friend Tyrell is now focused on college and reluctant to dredge up bad memories, but his white roommate, Robb, is intrigued by the shooting and seems insensitive to Tyrell’s silence. The engagement of white supremacists and white women who protest in support of the police at Shae’s funeral add new wrinkles. As tensions escalate, divisions harden while the police and community await the decision of the grand jury. This follow-up to the author’s acclaimed How It Went Down (2014) uses multiple distinctive narrators, transcripts, and social media posts to convey the charged atmosphere as people must carry on with their lives while turmoil brews around them. The wide range of personalities, rich details, and nuanced connections make this a stellar and important read.

This companion to a modern classic offers an even deeper, more layered depiction of the impact of a police shooting. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-12889-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2019