SOULFIRE by Lorri Hewett


Age Range: 12 & up
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 An angry, rough-hewn inner city story. Todd, 16, uneasily watches his hot-tempered cousin Ezekiel blow up when younger cousin Tommy starts hanging out with Todd's lawless older brother, Marcus. It's a situation ripe for tragedy, and when a series of confrontations escalates, Ezekiel and Tommy both take bullets, Tommy fatally. This is about power and respect: Parents and other adults don't get much, but Marcus, with a calm, scary disregard for others, is feared and admired. Hewett makes Marcus a victim, too, but the terror he inspires as a personification of the random street violence many readers see around them is undimmed. The author displays a convincing familiarity with the at-risk characters' dress, music, family structures, and profane language, but a romantic subplot is shoehorned in to explore tensions in a biracial family. Todd--a National Honor Society student who communicates with others through inarticulate sighs, shrugs, and monosyllables but carries on a running internal analysis of his moral dilemmas, racial attitudes, etc.--is too obviously a mouthpiece. Still, Hewett offers change at the end, without neat resolutions, and the frustrations of young people searching for something they can depend on are clear. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-45559-0
Page count: 231pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996